By Arnie Leshin
The Dallas Stars have gained a reputation of coming from behind, but fell short Monday night when the Tampa Bay Lightning surged to a 3-0 lead and held and held on for a 3-2 win to even the National Hockey League Stanley Cup finals at a game apiece at the Rogers Place Arena in Edmonton, Alberta.
The teams skate again Wednesday night in the best-of-seven series to hoist the prestigious Cup.
Eastern Conference champion Tampa Bay, beaten 4-1 in game one despite outshooting Western Conference champion Dallas, 36-20, scored rapidly this time, all in the opening period on goals from Ondrej Palat at 19:06, Blayden Point at 18:07, and Kevin Shattenkirk at 17:16, scored what would become the game-winner, and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy shut the Stars down.
But at 14:24 of the second period, Dallas got on the scoreboard when Mattias Janmark shot it past Vasilevskiy Then early in the third period, the Stars trimmed the deficit to 3-2 on Joe Pavelski’s goal at 18:10. Not long after it appeared that Victor Hedman had added to the Lightning lead with a breakaway goal, but after a review, his team was ruled offside.
Assists from Tampa Bay came on two apiece from Nikita Kucherov and Hedman, while Dallas gained a pair of assists each from Alexander Rapulov and John Klingberg. .
And that’s the way it wound up. This time Tampa Bay had a 31-29 shot advantage, Vasilevskiy made 27 saves and Dallas keeper Anton Khudobin stopped 28.
The game one huge advantage in shots taken by the losing team, Tampa Bay, was the first since the 1967-68 Stanley Cup finals that a team lost while outscoring the winner by 15 or more shots.
The Lighting was called for seven penalties and spent 14 minutes in the penalty box. The Stars was whistled for six and served 12 minutes in the penalty box.
The respective top-seeded teams, the Eastern Conference Philadelphia Flyers were eliminated in the quarterfinals by the sixth-seeded New York Islanders, and the Western Conference Las Vegas Golden Knights were ousted in five games of the conference finals by the 3rd-seeded Stars. The Isles then lost to the Lighting in six games.