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Stamkos Returns, Lightning Strike Win 5-2

After a series-tying game two, this game is incredibly important for both teams as they look to take the lead in the series. Luckily for the Lightning, they’re getting reinforcement as Captain Steven Stamkos draws into the lineup for the first time in over 200 days.

First Period

Just over five minutes into the period, Miro Heiskanen gives the puck up and Nikita Kucherov picks it up and goes on the breakaway and fires it past Anton Khudobin, 1-0 Lightning. 

Just over a minute later, Victor Hedman finds a streaking Stamkos who skates up the right-wing side. He evades a check and shoots it far-side over the shoulder of Khudobin, 2-0 Lightning.

Minutes later the Lightning go on the penalty from a tripping call on Erik Cernak. They’re able to kill it off and Joel Kiviranta takes a two-minute interference penalty to give the Lightning their first power play. On the power play, Radek Faksa forechecks hard for the Stars and digs the puck out of the corner. He passes it to a wide-open Jason Dickinson who shoots a one-timer past Andrei Vasilevskiy.

At the end of the first, the shot clock didn’t tell the full story. Dallas leads 16-8 over the Lightning but trailed by one goal heading into the second. They’ll need to tighten up if they plan to get back in this game.

Second Period

To start the second, Stamkos isn’t on the bench. Not that he was needed as just under a minute in, the Lightning score again. There is a battle behind the net and Anthony Cirelli comes away with the puck, he passes it out front to Hedman and he puts it past Khudobin to give Tampa a 3-1 lead.

Since the start of the period, the Lightning was showing the stars what they’re made of. The ice fully tilted and the Lightning held them to zero shots for the first 10 minutes of the frame. Their hard work paid off as Kucherov skates into the zone and passes it cross-crease over to Brayden Point who scores 4-1 Lightning.

Just over five minutes later, Kevin Shattenkirk fired the puck on net but it got deflected. Point picks up the rebound but it’s stopped and then Ondrej Palat picks up his rebound and is able to get the goal, 5-1 Lightning.

At the end of the second, shots were 21-4 in favour of the Lightning and 29-20 on the game.

Third Period

To start the third, the Stars turn to rookie Jake Oettinger to take over between the pipes. Luckily for him, he doesn’t face many shots as the game becomes a lot more physical. Over the 20 minutes of play, a total of 14 penalties were called amassing 52 minutes in penalty minutes. 

As such, the shots were 4-3 in favour of Dallas on the period and they even scored a goal. Under seven minutes into the period, Heiskanen receives a pass from behind the Lightning net and he shoots it on Vasilevskiy. The puck deflects off multiple players in the crease and goes into the net, 5-2 Lightning.

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Photo credit: Dinur Blum (@Rabbi_d) via Flickr.

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