EDMONTON, Alberta (WFTS) — The Lightning avoided what could have been a disappointing collapse in Tampa Bay's 3-2 win in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final.
The Lightning drew first blood after Brayden Point scored a goal off assists from Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman a little over 11 minutes after the opening faceoff.
Less than three minutes after the first goal, Ondrej Palat took advantage of assists from Kucherov and Hedman to find the back of the net to double the Lightning's lead.
With less than five minutes left of the first period, Tampa Bay's Kevin Shattenkirk scored off assists from Blake Coleman and Anthony Cirelli to give the Lightning a 3-0 lead.
However, unanswered goals from Stars' Joe Pavelski and Mattias Janmark cut the Lightning's lead to one.
Thankfully for Bolts fans, goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy and the Tampa Bay defense held on late to take Game 2 from Dallas.
The Lightning are entering the series bruised but battle-tested. Tampa Bay has had to play more than three full hours of overtime this postseason, a league record. On top of that, the Lightning have been without captain Steven Stamkos throughout the entirety of the NHL season restart.
In addition to missing Stamkos, forward Brayden Point missed two games in the Eastern Conference Final and Ryan McDonagh missed some games during the series against the Boston Bruins.
- Game 1: Stars 4, Lightning 1 Final.
- Game 2: Stars 2, Lightning 3 Final.
- Game 3: Wednesday, September 23, 8 p.m. ET
- Game 4: Friday, September 25, 8 p.m. ET
- Game 5: Saturday, September 26, 8 p.m. ET
- *Game 6: Monday, September 28, 8 p.m. ET
- *Game 7: Wednesday, Septmeber 30, 8 p.m. ET
* = If necessary
HOW THEY GOT HERE
The Lightning secured the second seed in the Eastern Conference bracket after finishing second to the Philadelphia Flyers in round-robin play. Tampa Bay beat the Columbus Blue Jackets, the team the Lightning got swept by in the first round of the 2019 playoffs, in five hard-fought games.
After exorcising their playoff demons against the Blue Jackets, the Lightning rode Ondrej Palat's hot hand and a game-winning goal in double overtime from Victor Hedman to take down the Boston Bruins in five games.
Tampa Bay survived a physical and bruising series against the New York Islanders after taking the series in six games to punch the team's ticket to the Stanley Cup Final.
The Dallas Stars qualified for round-robin in the Edmonton bubble after finishing the regular season with the fourth-best record in the conference.
The Stars secured the No. 3 seed and beat the Calgary Flames in six games.
In the following round, Dallas jumped to a commanding 3-1 series lead before the Colorado Avalance came back and forced a Game 7. The Stars then dodged a major series collapse after beating the Avs 5-4 in overtime in the winner-take-all game.
Dallas then took the Western Conference title after beating the Vegas Golden Knights in five games.