Stamkos Returns and Makes Impact in Game 3 as Lightning Take 2-1 Series Lead in SCF

Logan Lockhart
BarnBurner Sports Writer


Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Steven Stamkos scored in his return to action on only his third shift of play, aiding the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-2 win against the Dallas Stars in game three of the Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday night. 


With the win, the Lightning have taken a 2-1 series lead. 


75% of NHL teams to be victorious in game three, win the series. 


It was the first time Stamkos had appeared in a game since February 25, a home date against the Toronto Maple Leafs, 210 days before game three of the Stanley Cup Finals. 


The Lightning captain did not return to the ice after the first period. His status for the remainder of the series has not been determined as of post-game.


Stamkos scored at 6:58 of the opening frame, beating Stars starter Anton Khudobin on a 2 on 1 breakout, extending Tampa Bay’s lead to 2-0.


The goal came 1:25 after Nikita Kucherov opened the scoring on a breakaway, after a turnover by Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen.


It is the second time in as many games that the Lightning have scored the game’s first goal.


Despite possessing a 2-1 lead after the first frame, the Lightning were outplayed in the period, but in the second, it was all Tampa--relentless pressure, shots toward Khudobin, and three goals.


Victor Hedman, Brayden Point and Ondrej Palat were the goal scorers for Tampa Bay in the second. 


The Lightning entered the second period on the power play, a man advantage that carried over from the first and they capitalized early--it was Hedman who was credited with the goal only 54 seconds into the frame.


The goal was Hedman’s 10th goal of the playoffs and first of the Stanley Cup Finals. 


Brayden Point beat Khudobin, finishing off a 3 on 1 opportunity, at 12:02 of the frame, extending the Lightning’s lead to 4-1. 


And then after a 5 on 5 shift from the Lightning in Dallas’ zone that resembled a power play due to the relentless pressure, Ondrej Palat scored his team’s final goal of the period, giving Tampa Bay a 5-1 lead. 


Palat’s goal was an exclamation point on a period that was as dominant as they come in such a parody-riddled league that is the NHL. 


The two goal scorers for Dallas were Jason Dickinson and Miro Heiskanen.


Dickinson scored his second goal of the series in the opening frame, this time shorthanded.


For Heiskanen, his third-period goal was the closest the Stars could get within the Lightning, on the scoreboard.


After Stamkos’ goal, the Stars took control of the game, finishing the first frame outshooting the opposition 16-8. 


The latter half of the first period was the last time until the third that the Stars maintained possession for extended stretches, while testing Lightning starter Andrei Vasilevskiy.


Tyler Seguin’s goalless streak extended to 12 games, after failing to beat Vasilevskiy on Wednesday night. 


21-year-old Stars rookie goaltender Jake Oettinger made his second appearance of the playoffs, as he was given the nod to enter the game to start the third period by head coach Rick Bowness.


Oettinger made just three saves in the period, without allowing a goal.


Game four of the series will go on Friday night at 8:00 PM EST, when the Lightning will look to take a commanding 3-1 series lead.