EDMONTON, Alta. — The Tampa Bay Lightning rode a three-goal first period and 27-save performance from goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy to claim a 3-2 victory over the Dallas Stars Monday night, Sept. 21, in Edmonton and even the Stanley Cup Final series at 1-1.
Brayden Point, Ondrej Palat and Kevin Shattenkirk all scored goals, while Nikita Kucherov netted two assists for the Lightning.
Game 3 of the best-of-seven championship series will be Wednesday.
After a disappointing opener, the Lightning looked to assert themselves early and did just that with a dominant opening 20 minutes
Point started the scoring with his team’s first power-play goal in five outings, a one-timer from Kucherov’s pass that went off the stick of Stars defenseman Esa Lindell and into the top corner at 11:23. It snapped an 0-for-15 slump with the man-advantage and marked the first time in seven games Tampa opened the scoring.
Then, Palat netted Tampa’s second power-play goal of the night, another tally set up by a brilliant cross-ice pass from Kucherov at the 14:22 mark.
The goal rush was completed by Shattenkirk’s long point shot 54 seconds later, which ricocheted off Lindell’s knee before finding the twine and making it a 3-0 count. At that point, Dallas had only two shots on goal.
However, Dallas was the better team after the first intermission and was rewarded when Joe Pavelski put the Stars on the board, deflecting a point shot for the power-play marker with 5:17 remaining in the middle frame to make it a 3-1 game. Pavelski was denied on a breakaway shortly after.
The Stars kept the momentum into the third period and Mattias Janmark made it a one-goal deficit five minutes into the frame when he redirected John Klingberg’s pass for a gift of a goal at 5:27 into the third period, but that’s as close as the Stars could make it.
Anton Khudobin stopped 28 shots for the Stars, who were also dealt a blow to their lineup with forward Blake Comeau knocked from the game in the second period after he was on the receiving end of a hard hit from Ryan McDonagh.
Although he’s close to returning, Tampa captain Steven Stamkos didn’t play — he’s yet to skate in a game since the league restarted — but Jan Rutta, who last played Aug. 5, and Carter Verhaeghe dressed in place of Luke Schenn and Zach Bogosian.