Tampa Bay headed into this game up in the series two games to one though still without Steven Stamkos in the lineup. Despite the absence of their captain, the Lightning had earned their lead in the series with strong special teams thus far and some five-on-five dominance to the tune of a 59.12 five-on-five score and venue adjusted xGF% per naturalstatrick with the three-headed monster of Victor Hedman, Nikita Kucherov, and Brayden Point leading the way. Despite a rough night in game three, well-traveled veteran netminder Anton Khudobin continued to steal the headlines for Dallas. Wary of falling into a 1-3 series deficit, the Stars would need some output from their snakebitten forwards, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin.
The Lightning had the slight advantage in attempts through the first five-plus minutes of low-event hockey only to watch John Klingberg open the scoring for the Stars on Dallas’ first shot of the game. It was an unlikely and low probability play for Klingberg who was outnumbered four-to-one by the back-checking Lightning:
Without flinching, Tampa Bay continued to apply pressure and direct shots at Khudobin. Jamie Oleksiak took the first penalty of the evening with an ill-advised hook. However, Dallas’ aggressive penalty kill managed to deny the Lightning’s lethal powerplay. Right on cue, Jamie Benn got back in the mix as he set up Joe Pavelski who gave the Stars a 2-0 lead on just three shots:
Much to the chagrin of Rick Bowness, Brayden Point got the Lightning right back in it with a backbreaker late in the period. To the uninitiated, Brayden Point likes to do filthy things like this:
The Stars continued to tempt fate early in the second period as Oleksiak again headed to the box and beckoned Tampa Bay’s formidable powerplay. This time the Lightning went straight to work and Brayden Point tied the game up on his second goal through the first twenty-plus minutes. Things started looking bleak for the Stars as Roope Hintz went awkwardly into the boards courtesy of Tyler Johnson, and despite a late shove from Johnson, the officials assessed no penalty on the play. Hintz headed to the locker room, further complicating Dallas’ ability to match lines with the seemingly endless scoring depth of Tampa Bay.
Not one to get left out of the action, Tyler Seguin set up a bizarre and borderline slapstick goal that Corey Perry almost whiffed on. The Stars had the wind in their sails thereafter and almost re-established their two-goal lead but for the acrobatics of Andrei Vasilevskiy:
Although Tampa Bay still had the advantage in attempts, Dallas kept things somewhat closer in period two. Khudobin, although far from perfect, certainly outperformed Vasilevskiy outside of that one all-out save from the Lightning ‘tender. Nonetheless, Tampa Bay took their first lead of the game courtesy of Alex Killorn on the first Lightning goal that had no involvement from Kucherov or Point. However, pulse now established, the Stars’ big names came through in the clutch, tying the game at four on Pavelski’s second goal of the night with assists coming from Seguin and Miro Heiskanen:
In a somewhat controversial sequence of events, the officials issued offsetting minors for Brayden Point and Corey Perry in the waning moments of the third period with the score tied at four. The Stars parlayed the four-on-four into a four-on-three early in overtime but Dallas failed to execute on the powerplay. After mere moments of five-on-five, the Lightning went on the powerplay thanks to an undisciplined hold from Benn. With their captain in the box, the Stars watched Kevin Shattenkirk convert in overtime to take a 3-1 series lead for the Lightning: