Game 4 Final Score: Lightning 5, Stars 4
Lightning lead series 3-1
By Nathan Tucker
Even the best of officials at the highest levels can miss a call every now and then. It’s human to err, to make mistakes. But an officiating mistake in Game Four of the Stanley Cup Final turned an exciting game on its head at a pivotal moment.
And the Tampa Bay Lightning were given a power play just after five minutes into overtime. Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn was called for a phantom trip, and Lightning D-man Kevin Shattenkirk converted with the man advantage to win the game, 5-4.
“The ref’s got a tough job. I see it. It’s in front of [referee] Kelly [Sutherland]. He’s got a great look at it. The back ref calls it,” Stars assistant captain Joe Pavelski said on NBC Sports, following the game. “I don’t have a ton of time for a play where Tyler Johnson steps in front of Jamie Benn and [it] has no real effect on the play. Jamie breathes on him and the guy falls over. Whether that’s the case or not, there’s a little battle going on there. But it’s the playoffs. It’s overtime. We expect 5-on-5. We expect to battle it out. It’s unfortunate.”
The game to that point had been by far the most competitive of a series that’s been highlighted by teams scoring in spurts, and dominating single periods more than a whole game. Dallas jumped out to a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from John Klingberg and the aforementioned Joe Pavelski.
Two Brayden Point goals in the second for Tampa leveled the game in short order in the second period. The Stars hit back quickly with another of their own, A sloppy goal that Corey Perry knocked in as he crashed the net on a rebound chance.
Not to be outdone, the Lightning added another with a minute left in the second period to level the score at 3 apiece. A hectic second period that saw more goals than any other single period yet this Stanley Cup Final.
Tampa couldn’t ever quite control the game the way they have in past efforts this week, but took a 4-3 lead midway through the third that looked to push them over the line. A second Joe Pavelski goal prevented that fate, at least temporarily.
The Lightning now have the chance to win the cup in Game Five. And if they don’t, sports Twitter/the internet will ridicule them for possibly blowing a 3-1 series lead, which has become a landmark of playoff failure since the Golden State Warriors did so in the 2016 NBA Finals.
Tampa Bay Goalscorers:
Brayden Point (13)
Yanni Gourde (7)
Alex Killorn (5)
Kevin Shattenkirk (3)
John Klingberg (4)
Joe Pavelski (12)
Corey Perry (3)