After a thrilling, back-and-forth Game 4 of the 2020 Stanley Cup Final, the Lightning grabbed a 3-1 series lead by beating the Stars 5-4 in OT on Friday. The Stars face elimination with little time to gather their thoughts, while the Lightning aim to win the Stanley Cup in Game 5 on Saturday (8 p.m. ET on NBC: livestream).
Kevin Shattenkirk scored the overtime game-winner on a power play following a polarizing penalty call against Jamie Benn. Hockey fans aren’t likely to debate this point, though: Game 4 of Stars – Lightning was the most thrilling bout of the 2020 Stanley Cup Final.
So far, at least.
This time, a strong start wasn’t enough
Throughout the first three games of the 2020 Stanley Cup Final, strong starts made way for successful finishes. Game 4, on the other hand, required both the Stars and Lightning to deal with lead changes.
First, the Stars struck early. John Klingberg pounced on a loose puck from his initial (blocked) shot attempt to sneak one past Andrei Vasilevskiy. From there, Alexander Radulov used the power of geometry to break out Jamie Benn, who made a nifty pass to set up a Joe Pavelski goal. With about a minute and a half left in the first period, the Stars were up 2-0.
They wouldn’t go into the first intermission with that two-goal edge, however.
Kevin Shattenkirk sent Ondrej Palat down the ice, then Palat fed Brayden Point with a fabulous pass. On that semi-breakaway, Palat scored a beautiful goal to make it 2-1 late in the first.
Not long into the second, Point scored once again to tie things 2-2. Point cashed in on a wacky bounce, but the Lightning power play looked dangerous before he scored. It wouldn’t be the last time that man advantage made a big play.
Tyler Seguin didn’t score the 3-2 goal, yet he made it happen. Seguin did just about everything but score while creating havoc around the Lightning net, then Corey Perry punched it in.
It looked like the Stars would go up 4-2 on a rebound attempt by Nicholas Caamano, but Vasilevskiy made a save so nice it earned its own post.
Instead of falling behind 4-2, the Lightning power play made it happen again, with Yanni Gourde cashing in on some more fortunate bounces.
Stars and Lightning continue to trade punches as Game 4 goes to OT
So, the two teams entered the third period tied 3-3, and the twists and turns would continue. To start, Alex Killorn put up a prayer of a shot that beat Anton Khudobin. Khudobin received criticism for that 4-3 goal, but it’s also fair to note an accidental screening by John Klingberg.
That could have been a gutting game-winner, but not in this one. Joe Pavelski’s shot took a bounce off of Kevin Shattenkirk (and almost off of Tyler Seguin?) to make it 4-4. Remarkably, Game 4 went to overtime, representing the first contest of the 2020 Stanley Cup Final to need OT.
Heading into overtime, Point drew a penalty on Corey Perry, only officials made an iffy embellishment call on Point. With the two teams at 4-on-4, Tyler Seguin drew what seemed like a fateful penalty on Mikhail Sergachev.
After the Lightning power play dominated during regulation, would the Stars score amid some controversy? Nope, not yet at least.
Following a successful kill by the Lightning PK, Tampa Bay received a power play chance early in overtime, too. That had its own controversy, as some didn’t buy Jamie Benn being guilty of an infraction against Tyler Johnson.
Late in that power-play opportunity, Kevin Shattenkirk continued his rollercoaster of a Game 4 (and couple of seasons, really) with the overtime game-winner. It took until Game 4 of the 2020 Stanley Cup Final for the Stars to lose in OT for the first time during this postseason.
The Lightning power play kept striking in Game 4, and just like that, the Stars are on the brink of elimination in the 2020 Stanley Cup Final.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Dallas Stars (TB leads 3-1)
Stars 4, Lightning 1. (recap)
Lightning 3, Stars 2. (recap)
Lightning 5, Stars 2. (recap)
Lightning 5, Stars 4 [OT].
Game 5: Saturday, Sept. 26, 8 p.m. ET – NBC (livestream)
*Game 6: Monday, Sept. 28, 8 p.m. ET – NBC
*Game 7: Wednesday, Sept. 30, 8 p.m. ET – NBC
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.