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2020 Cup Rematch: Exciting OT Lightning Win 5-4

Photo Credit: Alex Walworth

A quick look at the standings show the Dallas Stars having a good start to this 2022-23 season with 19 points in their first 15 games. In the same number of games, the Tampa Bay Lightning have 17 points. In 2020, these two teams met in the Stanley Cup Final. After all this time both teams are still contenders. Who will bring home the win in this 2020 Cup rematch?

The up and down Lightning played one of their best periods in the first period of Sunday’s game against the Washington Capitals. Jumping out to a 4 – 0 lead while holding the Caps to four shots on goal. It was quite a turnaround from Friday in the nations capital when the Lightning took a beating by the Capitals who  won 5-1.

Which Lightning team is going to show up? Dallas, like Tampa has won 7 of their last 10 games. Tonight is the second of three road games. The Stars will be doing the Florida two-step in Sunrise to play the Panthers on Thursday. For the Lightning, tonight starts a three game stretch against the Western Conference.

Opening Bog

With the game barely a minute old, the newly revamped third line for the Lightning made some noise. Ross Colton, Corey Perry and Vlad Namestnikov were giving a master forechecking class. Digging, cycling and putting the puck on the net, Colton jumped on a juicy rebound of a Namestnikov shot. Colton puts Tampa up 1-0 with an assist from Namestnikov and Philip Myers.

Continuing to impress, rookie Nick Perbix was whistled for a hooking penalty putting the Stars on the power play. Almost immediately, Mason Marchment tipped in a pass from Jason Robertson to tie the game at one.

Tampa’s best line in the period was the third line and they had a couple of chances. But the period ended with one goal apiece.

A 2020 Cup Rematch?

 Heading into the second period, the game was tied at one. Which team was going to take control of this game? Before the five minute mark, Nick Paul scored a power play goal. Assisted by Colton and Perry. It was a grinder type of goal from the second power play unit. Lightning regain the one goal lead.

Paul was whistled for a penalty at the 6:21 mark. Dallas possesses one of the top power plays. On the penalty kill, Vlad Namestnikov worked hard and found himself on a breakaway heading towards Dallas goalie Jake Oettinger. Namestnikov didn’t stop until he was called for a goalie interference call. Fortunately, Wyatt Johnson for Dallas committed an offsetting penalty. Dallas was still on the power play for the Paul penalty and Joe Pavelski made them pay. He pushed a rebound past Brian Elliott to tie the game at two.

Less than two minutes later,  seeing eye Pavelski pass found Robertson’s stick in the slot and he snapped the puck past Elliott to give Dallas a 3-2 lead. Sure seemed like Dallas was going to clamp down. They did momentarily until Ian Cole hit Steven Stamkos with a solid pass that Stamkos chipped up over Oettinger to knot the game at three.

Who Grabs This Game?

These are the types of games that the big time players score the tie breakers. Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov for Tampa ad Pavelski and Tyler Seguin for Dallas. So, who scores not even four minutes into the third period? Defenseman Ian Cole. Granted, he made a nifty backhand, forehand to put the puck past Oettinger for a 4-3 Lightning lead. Who knew he had these offensive chops? Doesn’t matter as his first goal as a Lightning got back the one goal lead. Would this be enough? This game had a feel of a big time game. Two of the league’s better teams trying to find their game as the season rolls on.

Dallas wasn’t about to go away because Tampa took a lead. There was still plenty of time left in the game. The Stars buzzed around the Lightning’s zone on a couple shifts but the Lightning defense held firm. As the game was winding down to the final five minutes of regulation, Dallas put Tampa back on the power play. A goal with the extra man could be the final nail. Let’s say that a goal was scored about twenty seconds into the power play. You guessed it, another shorthanded goal given up by the Lightning. The puck bobbled on Mikhail Sergachev and Radek Faksa scored the shortie to tie it at four. That’s where the game was when regulation was over.

Heading to OT

A tip of the cap should go to both goalies. Yes, four goals allowed isn’t stellar work but two against Elliott were on the power play and one for Oettinger. There were some nice saves by both netminders during the game that kept their teams in the hunt. Dallas and Tampa are two of the best scoring teams in the league. As expected, the five minute overtime went back and forth. Both teams had odd man rushes that were stifled by a combination of good defense and timely goaltending.

With less than two minutes remaining in the extra session, Stamkos earned his 500th career assist on an Alex Killorn goal to win the game for the Lightning 5-4.

Three Stars

  1. Alex Killorn – OT Game winning goal plus two assists for three points
  2. Nick Paul – One goal, one assist, four hits, three takeaways and won 75% of his face offs
  3. Steven Stamkos – One goal, one assist – his 500th career assist for 2nd all time in Lightning history

What’s Next

Thursday night at Amalie Arena at 7pm against the Calgary Flames

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