The Lightning is one win away from the franchise’s second Stanley Cup championship thanks to a 5-4 win in Game 4 of the Friday night finals.
Tampa Bay was in a power play 6 1/2 minutes into the extra session when defender Kevin Shattenkirk ran into the right circle and then sent the puck through the legs of a Dallas penalty taker and past Stars netminder Anton Khudobin.
Both benches were lit, but for different reasons. Of course, Tampa Bay was thrilled when they took the 3-1 lead in the Best of Seven series. The opposite bank, not so much. Why? The stars viewed the penalty shot against captain Jamie Benn, which led to the man’s advantage of lightning, as questionable.
“This is a hockey game,” said head coach Rick Bowness after the game. “I’ve watched the replay a couple of times and it’s two people … and you go on a loose puck and they hook us and we fight through the hook. I saw that.”
Benn and Tyler Johnson from Blitz were about to grab the puck when it slipped into the neutral zone. The two got tangled up, Johnson went down and the stars forward were called to trip.
“The referees have a tough job. I can see that,” said Stars striker Joe Pavelski, who scored two goals in the game. “It’s before [referee] Kelly [Sutherland], he has a great view of it, the back ref [Francis Charron] call it. I don’t have a lot of time for a piece where Tyler Johnson steps in front of Jamie Benn and has no real effect on the piece.
“Jamie breathes at him and the guy falls over. Whether that is the case or not, there is a little fight going on there. But it’s playoffs, it’s overtime – we expect five against five – we expect to make it.”
When asked about Pavelski’s comments on the call, Bowness said, “The players want to dictate the end of the game, and they’re right. They want to play five on five and see what happens here. Yes, the players are.” right. Let the players decide the game. “
Shattenkirk’s goal, which incidentally was bought up by the Rangers last summer before signing with Tampa Bay, was the third of the Blitz in the game’s power play. Dallas had a chance with manpower at the start of the extra frame but couldn’t capitalize.
Twitter wasn’t sure if the game officiated as a whole, either.
Dreadful. I feel terrible for Dallas. As bad a call as the one against Acciari last year.
– Matt Porter (@mattyports) September 26, 2020
“I disagree with the call but it’s beyond our control,” added defender John Klingberg, who scored the Stars’ first goal. “Let us continue.”
Go on, and do it quickly. The puck falls in game 5 at 8 p.m. ET Saturday.