The Tampa Bay Lightning moved to within one win of the Stanley Cup on Friday, beating Dallas 5-4 on an overtime power-play goal that left the Stars livid.
Kevin Shattenkirk fired the puck from the right faceoff circle through traffic and past Dallas goalie Anton Khudobin at 6:34 of overtime.
Stars captain Jamie Benn was in the box for tripping after getting tangled up with Lightning forward Tyler Johnson at the Tampa blue line.
“I don’t have a ton of time for a (penalty call on a) play where Tyler Johnson steps in front of Jamie Benn that has no real effect on the play,” said Dallas forward Joe Pavelski.
"Jamie breathes on him and the guy falls over.
“ (In the playoffs) it’s overtime, we expect five-on-five to battle it out.”
The Lightning have a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven NHL final series and could lift the cup for the second time in franchise history with a win in Game 5 Saturday night at Rogers Place.
Brayden Point, with two goals, Yanni Gourde, and Alex Killorn also scored for Tampa Bay. Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 26 shots for his 17th win of the post-season against six losses.
Pavelski, with two goals, John Klingberg, and Corey Perry replied for Dallas. Khudobin made 30 saves. His playoff record falls to 13-9.
It was a back-and-forth game, with Tampa Bay rallying back twice from deficits and torching Dallas with three power-play goals.
“We stayed persistent,” said Killorn. "On a couple of (power plays), it seems like the first minute isn’t great, but the second unit comes on (and) they’re ready.
“All the goals are kind of I don’t want to say greasy, but we’re working for these goals. They’re not backdoor passes or anything like that.”
Tampa had to kill a penalty of their own in overtime before Shattenkirk got the winner.
“I think it was just sticking with the process,” said Point. “We were working. We weren’t focused on the end result, just that next shift and it worked out for us tonight.”
Dallas coach Rick Bowness, looking to spark his team after a 5-2 loss in Game 3, broke up his top line of Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov, mixing and matching them in various combinations with Joel Kiviranta, Perry, and Pavelski among the top six.
The strategy worked early on.
Dallas had just three shots in the first period but scored twice. Klingberg scored first, then Benn dished to a streaking Pavelski in the slot, who zipped the puck blocker-side low on Vasilevskiy.
Point got his first goal in the dying seconds of the first period on a perfectly executed 200-foot breakout.
Shattenkirk, at his own end line, fired a bounce pass off the boards that Ondrej Palat corralled at centre and in turn relayed to Point in full flight, who deked out Khudobin on the backhand.
Point tied the game 2-2 early in the second period on the power play, standing beside the Dallas net and bunting a puck out of mid-air.
Dallas took a 3-2 lead midway through the second period when Vasilevskiy stopped a close-in shot from a streaking Seguin, but Perry sailed in to jam home the loose puck.
Tampa replied again on the power play with a minute to go in the frame. Gourde jumped on a rebound that came right to his stick in the slot.
Killorn and Pavelski swapped sharp-angle goals in the third.
Seguin said while it’s a short turnaround to Game 5, Dallas will be ready.
“I think we’ve got more,” he said. “I believe in this team, believe in the boys. We’ve got another level here.”
Point has 13 goals and 17 assists this post-season, but remains behind linemate Nikita Kucherov for the NHL playoff scoring lead. Kucherov logged two assists and has seven goals and 32 points.
Pavelski leads the Stars with 12 post-season goals.
Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos did not dress for the game and is questionable for the rest of the series. Stamkos started Game 3 on Wednesday and scored on his first shot but sat on the bench for the last two periods.
He had been out since late February, recovering from core muscle surgery and a lower body injury. The NHL is not releasing injury information.
All games are being played in front of no spectators at Rogers Place, and players are isolating between contests to prevent contracting COVID-19.