By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor
The Tampa Bay Lightning had three power plays in the third period of Game 1 and could not cut into the lead the Dallas Stars built over the first two periods. In the first period of Game 2, the Lightning had three more power plays, and they sure took advantage of that.
Three goals in the first period, including two on the power play, paced the Lightning to a 3-0 lead. The Stars again tried to find a rally, but fell just short, as the Lightning took Game 2, 3-2, to even the Stanley Cup Final at one game apiece on Monday night.
After failing to score on an early high-sticking call, the Lightning got on the board with their second power play of the game, as Nikita Kucherov set up Brayden Point for the first goal of the game at 11:23.
Less than two minutes later, the Lightning were back on the power play, and again struck for a goal as some quick passing led to Kucherov setting up Ondrej Palat to make it 2-0 at 14:22.
Just 54 seconds after taking a 2-0 lead with their second power-play goal, the Lightning were on the board again off a turnover as Kevin Shattenkirk got a shot through to make it 3-0.
The Lightning had a 14-6 lead in shots through the first period.
The Stars had three power plays from the final two minutes of the first period to the middle of the second and failed to score. Just five seconds into their fourth power play of the game, they were on the board.
A point shot by John Klingberg was deflected in by Joe Pavelski, cutting the Tampa Bay lead to two at 14:43 of the second.
The Lightning held the two-goal lead through the second period due in large part to Andrei Vasilevskiy. The Stars out-shot the Lightning, 18-5, in the middle period, but Vasilevskiy’s 17 saves kept the margin at two.
Early in the third, Dallas continued to push and cut into the lead again on a transition play. Upon entering the zone, Alexander Radulov got the puck to Klingberg and he put it on goal, off the stick of Mattias Janmark and in to make it a 3-2 game at 5:27.
From there, the Lightning took control back with strong defensive play. They had a goal by Mikhail Sergechev waved off due to a successful offside challenge, but limited the Stars to just five third-period shots, allowing them to hold on for the victory.
Vasilevskiy finished the game with 27 saves in the win. Anton Khudobin made 28 saves in the loss.
Both Kucherov and Victor Hedman finished with two assists for Tampa Bay. Dallas had Radulov and Klingberg with two-assist games.
The series continues with Game 3 on Wednesday night at 8 p.m.