Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Alex Killorn (17) congratulates goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) after the team's shootout victory over the Dallas Stars in an NHL hockey game in Dallas, Tuesday, March 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

Lightning Secure the Win Against Rival Stars

The Tampa Bay Lightning met with its, rival the Dallas Stars, at American Airlines Center Tuesday night. The Stars took the early lead in this hard-fought battle; however, the Lightning struck in the second and secured the win, 2-1. 

Stars Get the Early Lead in the First

Dallas came onto the ice with a little more fire under their skates after the puck drop. The Lightning had a penalty called against defenseman Erik Cernak for tripping Stars center Joe Pavelski at 3:33. Dallas took full advantage of this early power-play opportunity. Stars left winger Roope Hintz stepped in front of the net and shot a backhander for a power-play goal at 4:32. Dallas was up with an early lead, 1-0. 

The Lightning picked up the pace with good points of pressure on the Stars towards the second half of the first period, but couldn’t shoot the puck through the traffic around the Stars net. Cernak had a scoring opportunity after Stars goalie Anton Khudobin lost his stick; however, with the “Wizard of Oz” click of his heels, Khudobin blocked the shot. 

In the final seconds of play, the Bolts picked up the pace in the Stars zone in hopes of tying up the score before the end of the first. With a shot by Cernak at the blueline blocked by Khudobin with 11 seconds remaining, the Lightning kept the pressure in the Stars zone until the buzzer rang. Dallas kept its lead, 1-0. 

Back-to-Back Bolts Goals in the Second

It was a rough second-period start for the Bolts in the first 10 seconds of play. Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy shot the puck in defenseman Mikhail Sergachev’s face while trying to clear the puck. Sergachev had to leave the game for a period of time to patch up his bloody nose. He returned later in the period. 

The Lightning’s first power play of the game came after defenseman Jamie Oleksiak got 2 minutes for tripping center Anthony Cirelli at 4:40. With multiple stops throughout the power play for offside, hand passing or out-of-play referee calls made, the Lightning couldn’t secure a power-play goal. However, Dallas was sent yet again to the penalty box less than 3 minutes later. Stars captain Jamie Benn got a holding penalty against defenseman Andreas Borgman, giving the Lightning a second power-play scoring chance. Captain Steven Stamkos wasted no time with this precious opportunity. He tied the game with his iconic slap shot from the left circle at 8:08. 

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One goal wasn’t enough for the Bolts. Tampa kept the pressure on Dallas. Center Yanni Gourde shot the puck, which was initially blocked by the hand of Stars defenseman John Klingberg. Gourde kept the play going and scored with the rebound shot at 12:44, giving Tampa the lead. The Lightning were up 2-1. 

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Frustration fueled the Stars who were playing with fury after two back-to-back penalties and goals against them. The Stars had a few good scoring chances, but the Bolts defense kept the puck away from the net. At the end of the period, Lightning were still up 2-1. 

Stars Waste Scoring Chances in the Third

It was like déjà vu as the third period began similar to the second. Within seconds of the start of the third, Hintz went down after his right leg buckled from under him. He was helped into the tunnel but later reemerged to continue play.

Tampa was gifted another power play after Stars center Radek Faksa was called for holding Borgman at 6:03. Eleven seconds later, Tampa left winger Alex Killorn gets called for slashing defenseman Andrej Sekera. Four-on-four play begins. The Lightning had a few scoring opportunities but continued to set up the shot rather than shoot the puck. No scoring occurred.

Tension rises as time ticks down in third. Both teams got riled up, and in the shuffle, Sergachev was sent to the box for interference against Pavelski at 11:55. About 30 seconds later, the Lightning get another penalty. Center Blake Coleman is called for hooking against Klingberg. It’s 5-on-3. This was the chance the Stars needed to tie up the score. Yet, they wasted their golden ticket opportunity, leaving the score 2-1 Tampa.

Dallas pulled all the stops possible to try and keep their winning chances alive. In the final minute of play, the Stars pulled its goalie. Now with 6-on-5 play, the Stars were scrambling to score. Even after saving the almost empty netter goal by Sergachev, Dallas fell short yet again to the Bolts. The final score was 2-1 Lightning.

Fun Facts of the Game

What would hockey be without its three stars of the game? The third star was Stamkos, the second star was Hintz and the first star of the game was the Big Cat himself, Vasilevskiy. 

With Tuesday night’s win under his belt, Vasilevskiy established a new Lightning record for longest winning streak. He is now 12-0-0 in his last 12 appearances since Feb. 22. 

The Lightning and Stars are scheduled to play eight times this season. This is the most amount of games played between Stanley Cup finalists since the 1991-92 season.

What’s Next

These two teams battle it out on the ice again Thursday at 8:30 p.m.

About Kaitlyn Wadulack

Kaitlyn Wadulack is a third-year journalism student specializing in sports and media at the University of Florida. You can reach Kaitlyn at k.wadulack@ufl.edu

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