Lightning close gap in wild card race after crushing the Stars

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Sellers at the deadline and without star Steven Stamkos in the lineup, the Tampa Bay Lightning refuse to go away in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Time may eventually run out on the Bolts, but they’ve added plenty of intrigue to the race for the final wild card spot. On Sunday, they came roaring back with four goals in the third period for a 6-3 victory over the Dallas Stars.

That’s a crucial result after Saturday’s overtime loss to Montreal.

With the Ottawa Senators in a funk and dealing with numerous injuries to key players on defense, and with the Bolts finding ways to win, Tampa Bay has moved to within three points of the wild card.

The Bolts have four games remaining on their schedule.

The Senators also have a game in hand.

“It just comes down to our season and that’s it,” coach Jon Cooper told reporters. “That was the discussion in the room — ‘Do you want to give yourself a chance to play past next Sunday?’ If you don’t, then play the way we did in the second. If you do, play the way we did in the third.”

The Lightning fell behind by a goal in the second period but tied it with only 18 seconds remaining in the middle frame on a goal from Braydon Coburn. Adam Erne had a pair of goals and Ondrej Palat had three points in the win.

The Bolts play the Boston Bruins on Tuesday, however they may be dealing with yet another injury. Jason Garrison left Sunday’s game late in the second period and didn’t play another shift.