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Lightning-Stars Game 4 report card: Tampa Bay creates its own luck

The Lightning find a way to win a game in which seemingly every break went against them.
Lightning forward Anthony Cirelli hits Stars defenseman John Klingberg in the first period.
Lightning forward Anthony Cirelli hits Stars defenseman John Klingberg in the first period. [ MARKO DITKUN | Special to the Times ]
Published Sep. 26, 2020|Updated Sep. 26, 2020

Sometimes, you make your own luck.

In a game in which seemingly every break went against them, the Lightning still found a way, twice coming from behind — including an early two-goal deficit — before beating the Stars 5-4 in overtime Friday in Game 4.

With its third straight win, Tampa Bay took a commanding three-games-to-one lead in the Stanley Cup final.

Fittingly, the winning shot was launched by defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who had the misfortune of the puck going off him and into his own net on Joe Pavelski’s tying goal in the third period.

It was that kind of night for the Lightning.

Defenseman Victor Hedman blocked a John Klingberg shot in the first period, only to watch Klingberg score on the rebound.

Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev prevented Tyler Seguin from getting off a shot on a second-period breakaway, but Seguin somehow managed to pass the puck from his knees back through the crease off goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy to the waiting stick of Corey Perry, who scored to put Dallas ahead, 3-2.

Pavelski’s tying goal with just over eight minutes remaining in regulation hit both Vasilevskiy and Shattenkirk before going over the goal line.

But Shattenkirk showed there is balance in the universe when he scored on the power play 6:34 into overtime, his shot from the right circle going through the legs of Stars defenseman Jamie Oleksiak and past goaltender Anton Khudobin, with Patrick Maroon setting a screen in front.

Grade: A-plus

Here’s how we graded the rest of the Lightning’s performance in Game 4:

Splitting hairs

Sometimes, succeeding simply isn’t enough.

Within minutes of each other in the first period, Klingberg and Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov both found themselves with the puck on their sticks in the offensive zone and a pair of defensemen in front of them.

Klingberg tried to thread a shot through Hedman and Jan Rutta, but it was blocked by Hedman. Kucherov opted to skate between a couple of Dallas defensemen and did just that, breaking in alone on Khudobin.

For all the good it did.

While Khudobin stopped Kucherov’s shot from the low slot, Klingberg collected his own rebound inside the left circle and shot right as he moved to his left, beating Vasilevskiy and giving the Stars a 1-0 lead.

Grade: B, for bad luck

Quick answer

Fifty-nine seconds after Pavelski extended the Stars’ first-period lead to 2-0, center Brayden Point put the Lightning on the board.

Point received a pass from Ondrej Palat, skated into the slot and beat Khudobin stick side with a backhand-forehand-backhand move with 33 seconds left in the period. A stretch pass from Shattenkirk started the play.

Point’s goal was his 12th of the postseason, tying Ruslan Fedotenko and Brad Richards (both in 2004) for second in Lightning history for goals scored in a playoff season. Tyler Johnson is first with 13 (2015).

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Grade: A

Pure magic

It took Point all of 2:41 between the first and second periods to erase Dallas' two-goal lead. After potting the Lightning’s first goal late in the first, Point struck again just over two minutes into the second, tying the score at 2. And it was a thing of beauty. Alex Killorn skated out from behind the Dallas net and passed to Point, who batted the puck out of the air into the net for a power-play goal.

Grade: A-plus

Doesn’t get any better

Vasilevskiy has made so many incredible saves in his career, it’s hard to single out any one of them as his best. But you could make a case for his second-period stop on Nick Caamano. Vasilevskiy moved right to left into a full split to stop Caamano’s backhand chance from in front of the net to keep the Lightning within 3-2.

Grade: A-plus

Both lucky ... and good

Sometimes a deflected pass is better than a shot. The Lightning tied the score at 3 when Kucherov, who stayed on with Palat after the second power-play unit took the ice, faked a shot and passed to Maroon in front of the net. The puck deflected off the skate of Stars defenseman Esa Lindell right to the Lightning’s Yanni Gourde in the slot, and Gourde buried a one-timer from between the hashmarks. Okay, so one bounce did go Tampa Bay’s way.

Grade: A

Close call

Joel Kiviranta managed to get a shot from the lower left faceoff dot behind Vasilevskiy, who nearly kicked it into his own net, with the Lightning leading 4-3 early in the third period. Vasilevskiy recovered in time to keep the puck out of the net, but Hedman cleared it from the crease first.

Grade: A

Worth the wait

The second line of Killorn, Johnson and Anthony Cirelli has been ratcheting up its play for the past three games, being aggressive on the forecheck, finishing checks and making it difficult for the Stars to get the puck out of their zone.

The only thing they hadn’t done much was score.

Their hard work paid off early in the third period, when Killorn gave the Lightning their first lead of the game. He whipped a turnaround shot from the lower right circle, beating Khudobin high on the stick side to put the Lightning ahead, 4-3. Cirelli was credited with the second assist.

Grade: A

Doubly cursed

Pavelski’s tying goal with just over eight minutes remaining in regulation went off not one but two Lightning players. Dallas defenseman Miro Heiskanen pinched in the offensive zone, keeping the play alive, and worked the puck around the boards to Pavelski, who skated out from behind the net to the lower right circle. Pavelski spun and fired a shot on net that Vasilevskiy saved before the puck deflected off Shattenkirk into the net.

Grade: D, for double deflection

Cashing in on their chance

Both teams had a power-play opportunity in the extra period, as Sergachev was penalized for holding Seguin in the first minute, and Jamie Benn was called for tripping Johnson about six minutes later. Since Perry and Point were both penalized late in regulation, Dallas had a 4-on-3 advantage for almost a minute.

The Lightning penalty kill did its job, with Vasilevskiy stopping the Stars' best chance, a Heiskanen shot from the left circle.

Dallas seemed poised to escape, as well, after an errant Kucherov pass went out of the zone, allowing the Stars to get a change, and Khudobin stopped Sergachev’s drive to the net on the ensuing rush. But they had no answer for Shattenkirk, whose winning goal put the Lightning one win from their second Stanley Cup.

Grade: A-plus

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