The Dallas Stars defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning,3-2, in the second overtime of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final after Corey Perry scored at the 9:23 mark. The Dallas win prevented the Lightning from clinching the series. Tampa Bay will have another chance to win the Cup on Monday.
The Dallas Stars couldn’t rely on Roope Hintz Saturday night, as he was injured during the previous game. The Finnish forward joined a long list of injured Stars players, including Radek Faksa, Blake Comeau and Ben Bishop. There was a concern about Jason Dickinson, who left the warmup, but he returned and played the full game. As for the Lightning, they still missed their captain Steven Stamkos. If it wasn’t a back-to-back game, they might have dressed him for this game, since the Lightning had an opportunity to clinch the Cup, but they decided not to put additional time on the ice on other forwards.
Despite both teams played less than 24 hours before, they started the game on a pretty high pace. The Stars got the first real chance of the night when Miro Heiskanen cruised past the Lightning defense, but was denied by Andrei Vasilevskiy.
A couple of minutes later Tyler Seguin was sent to penalty box for high-sticking and the Lightning went on their first power play of the game. They started it a little bit slower, but eventually ramped up the pressure and recorded three shots, including a Brayden Point shot from a slot after a quick combination, and a heavy blast by Victor Hedman from the blueline, but Anton Khudobin stopped all of them.
In addition to all their injuries, the Stars also lost Andrej Sekera, who went to the locker room after blocking a shot by Mikhail Sergachev. Despite being so depleted, the Stars mostly controlled the game after killing that power play in the first half of the period. The number of shot attempts were almost even, but the Stars had an obvious advantage in creating high-dangerous opportunities and expected goal share.
Later it resulted in an actual goal for Dallas: the Lightning couldn’t get the puck out of their zone, Seguin flipped a puck over Sergachev’s stick and Corey Perry picked it up and beat Vasilevskiy with his shot. A moment before this goal happened Sergachev has hurt himself after an unfortunate hit attempt on Alex Radulov, which probably prevented him from properly defending against Seguin later in the play.
At the end of the period Nikita Kucherov got a chance after a turnover in the Stars zone, but Anton Khudobin didn’t have any problem with his shot. The Lightning finished the first period trailing 0-1.
The Lightning clearly returned to the ice at the start of the second period intent on tying the game. They had couple of great opportunities during the first five minutes of the game. First Kucherov slid through the Stars defense and almost scored on Khudobin, a couple of minutes later it was Sergachev who skated to the Stars net and found Point with a pass, but his shot was interrupted.
The Stars however almost got another goal. Tyler Seguin managed to toss the puck to Corey Perry after a chaotic situation behind the Lightning net, but Vasilevskiy denied his shot.
It didn’t stop the Bolts from trying and they finally evened the game. Kucherov picked up a puck at the blueline, skated to the center of the ice and left it for Ondrej Palat, who moved past Esa Lindell to the crease and scored his 11th goal of this postseason.
A moment later Anthony Cirelli almost ran away on breakaway, but this time Lindell didn’t let the Lightning player beat him and prevented Cirelli from from scoring. The Lightning continued to pressure the opponent, after the Palat goal they put up couple of great shifts, completely locking the Stars into their own zone and it seemed like a power play for minute and a half, despite both teams played at 5-on-5.
With seven minutes to go the Stars went on their first power play when Carter Verhaeghe slashed Heiskanen behind the Stars net. The Dallas power play wasn’t very successful against the Lightning this series, and they couldn’t convert on it again, but had a couple of great chances and recorded two shots during these two minutes.
It wouldn’t be s Stanley Cup Final game if the things didn’t get spicy at some point of the game. As Vasilevskiy tried to cover the puck, Jamie Benn skated to the crease and slashed him on the glove, which resulted in a little scrum behind the Lightning net.
Statistically speaking, the Lightning had been a better team during the second period. They had advantage in both quality and quantity of the shots and deservedly tied the game.
Dallas was more dangerous at the start of the third period, forcing Vasilevskiy to be more involved in the game, and not every decision he made was perfect: first he couldn’t handle with a pass to Yanni Gourde and it ended with a dangerous situation in front of his net, but a minute later he redeemed after making a big save on Joe Pavelski who had been left alone at the left side of the net.
Four minutes into the third period the Lightning took a lead for the first time in the game. Sergachev blasted the puck from blueline through a traffic in front of Khudobin, who obviously didn’t see anything and it ended at the back of his net. Point was credited with an assist.
With nine minutes to go, Dallas was awarded with a power play and Eric Cernak was sent to the box for high-sticking. A pretty questionable call for referees, because they clearly ignored Kucherov getting high-sticked a moment before or another potential call on Hedman right before Cernak’s call.
The Stars power play went scoreless for the third time in the game, however they managed to tie the game on a first face-off after power play expired. Heiskanen shot the puck from a blueline and Pavelski redirected into the net.
In the remaining time both teams were mostly careful. The most dangerous moment happened when Cirelli’s shot hit the post after a rebound. The Stars tried to push late in the period, but it ended 2-2 and both teams went to overtime.
In terms of statistics, the Stars had a slight advantage in possession and out-chanced Tampa Bay in high-dangerous situations 6-1 at 5-on-5, which seems logic since the Stars trailed at some point of the period.
The Lightning dominated the first overtime, not allowing their opponent to have a shot on goal till 18 minute into overtime. However Anton Khudobin looked solid, having probably the best period since the first game of the series.
Nikita Kucherov, who had been the power engine of the Lightning offence in the first half of the first overtime, had a couple of great chances. The most dangerous opportunity was avoided by Joel Hanley, who intercepted a shot with his stick.
The Lightning forced the opponent to sit deep in their own defensive zone, so even players like Joe Pavelski had to work off defensively and blocking shots
Tyler Johnson has been relatively quiet offensively this postseason, despite doing a lot of work defensively and on the forecheck. He had a chance to end this series, almost running away from John Klingberg, but Khudobin denied his shot.
In the second half of the period, the Stars slowly recovered and also put some pressure on the Bolts net, but it didn’t result in anything more or less dangerous. Jamie Benn had one of these rare opportunities, but got disrupted from the behind by Hedman.
At the end of the first overtime Corey Perry almost scored an own goal, when the puck bounced off his stick into direction of Khudobin’s net
Dallas opened a second overtime with two shots by Heiskanen and a missed opportunity by Denis Gurianov, who missed the net on a breakaway.
After these moments the Stars rolled back and the Lightning took over an advantage. As in previous overtime Anton Khudobin looked steady and made couple of very important saves, including saves after Cirelli’s shot and Palat’s backhand
Despite having an advantage, the Lightning couldn’t convert it in actual goals and the Stars took advantage of it. Nine minutes into the second overtime Klingberg shot the puck from the point, Perry controlled the rebound and beat Vasilevskiy sending the puck into the net. The Lightning coaching staff looked if Dallas entered the zone offside, but replay confirmed the puck was the first thing in the zone and the Stars avoided elimination, forcing Game 6.
Ondrej Palat (Nikita Kucherov; Brayden Point): 1-1
Mikhail Sergachev (Brayden Point) 2-1