(East Los Angeles, CA) September 30, 2020 [From The Editor’s Desk]: As we close down on this historic and COVID-19 infected, 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Series, we bring you all of the action as captured by our chief correspondent, Joe Perry. Although we couldn’t bring this coverage to everyone in an ESPN, LA Times, or FOX Sports, quick-turnaround and with your morning coffee style, we will always present coverage to the best of our abilities and your likings. Thanks again for your outstanding patience and for bearing with us as we bring you this Game #4. We do have our sights set on continuing our NHL Hockey coverage next season, when we hope to be in attendance for the L.A. Kings, and to the largest extent possible, the Anaheim Ducks.
2020 STANLEY CUP FINALS – Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Dallas Stars – Game 4
Tampa Bay Overtime Win Ups Series Lead To 3-1
The series score was (2-1) Tampa Bay, going into last Friday night’s Game 4, on 9/25. All you needed to know was this: Players specializing in checking and hitting hard were starting for both teams.
(1st Period): Overemphasis on defense to start the game made the 1st period feel sluggish. Then, Dallas’s first shot on net was the very first goal of the game. John Klingberg, Dallas Stars defenseman, received the puck after a Tampa Bay player chipped it out trying to clear. Klingberg collected the puck, spun back around, and charged back into the zone confidently. His first shot on net was blocked by a Tampa Bay defenseman’s skate, but the puck rebounded nearby. Klingberg scooped it up again and flicked a hard wrist-shot on net for a goal. Klingberg’s tenacious offense made it 1-0 Dallas.The second goal for Dallas came off a scrum at the wall in the Stars’ defensive zone. A pinball pass up the side boards to Jamie Benn, Dallas ace, with Joe Pavelski going hard down the middle. Benn passed around the Lightning defense to Pavelski and Pavelski took the shot, blocker side. Result…goal!! (2-0). It was a nice, high-flying play. But the Lightning quickly struck back to make it (2-1). The puck started behind their own net – then Tampa Bay launched a hard pass forward into the neutral zone where Ondrej Palát picked it up. Palát found teammate Brayden Point streaking on a swift run. Point outraced his opponent and with the puck magnetized to his stick, he made Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin look silly. Point came in with a lot of speed and it’s very difficult for any goaltender to match that. Tampa Bay cut the lead in half with only 30 seconds left in the 1st period.
(2nd Period): Tampa Bay opened the period with a score. Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov flicked a no-look pass down to Alex Killorn at the side-net. Killorn with no opening, swung underneath and behind with the puck down low. He tried to slide it quickly to the slot where Point was waiting, but all of a sudden, the puck ramped up and off the stick of a Dallas defenseman. Out of mid-air, Brayden Point displayed incredible hand-eye-coordination and volleyed the puck straight into the net. Tie game, (2-2).
The Dallas Stars responded to make it (3-2). Dallas’s center, Mattias Janmark, jabbed a pass up the wing to fellow offense-man Tyler Seguin who was fighting off both Mikhail Sergachev and Carter Verhaeghe from Tampa Bay. In an explosive play, Seguin moved in and swept around Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, plunking the puck off the post where a rebound went off Vasilevskiy’s skate and found Dallas Stars’ veteran Corey Perry who punched it home.
On a power-play late in the period, Tampa Bay was able to score and tie the game (3-3). Dallas Stars defenseman Esa Lindell attempted to block a shot from the Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov but ended up kicking it to Lightning forward Yanni Gourde. It was a tough break for Lindell and the Stars. Khudobin was sliding over in net, so when the puck ended up on Gourde’s stick off Lindell’s blade, there was a lot of empty space in net for an easy goal.
(3rd Period): The Lightning carried their momentum into the beginning of the period. A critical face-off was won in the offensive zone and the puck was sent down behind net, wrapping along the boards. Lightning center Alex Killorn received it and ducked underneath Lindell, with Lindell following closely. Killorn came out on the other side of the net and spun around viciously. He let the puck fly. Despite Lindell’s stick poke, the puck rocketed toward net and hit the far-side post. Top shelf goal. Absolutely incredible! Khudobin never expected it. Now it was (4-3) Tampa Bay.
Before regulation was over, Dallas was determined to tie the game and make it (4-4). Off the boards, Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen passed to Seguin who immediately made a turnaround shot. Saved by Vasilevskiy. The puck went back behind net. Pavelski picked it up, skated out, and then hit his own turnaround shot. Saved again by Vasilevskiy off the blocker, but Seguin weaseled his way in front of Tampa Bay defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk and cut off his vision. The puck bounced so hard off Vasilevskiy’s blocker from Pavelski’s shot that it hit Shattenkirk in the pants and ricocheted into the net. This game was headed into overtime.
(Overtime): The Lightning were clutch in the offensive zone all night and once again found themselves in a face-off..this time on a power-play. Tampa Bay won the puck and sent it back to Victor Hedman skating backwards along the Blue Line, menacing to shoot with his stick held high, but he elected to pass instead over to Shattenkirk who saw an opening. Tampa Bay winger Patrick Maroon set a sneaky screen down in front of Khudobin’s face, prompting Shattenkirk to wrist a low and hard shot through the legs of Dallas defenseman Jamie Oleksiak. The puck went right over Khudobin’s blocker for the game-winning overtime goal, making the series (3-1) in favor of Tampa Bay.
Final Score: Lightning 5 Stars 4 (OT)
About Our Correspondent]: Joe Perry is our new Sports Correspondent and Cinema-TV, and Entertainment Columnist for East L.A. Sports Scene. He was born in New Jersey and raised by two public school teachers who loved taking him on World tours. He is a recent June, MFA graduate from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts Program in Film & TV Production. Duly noted here, while growing-up, Joe was a huge fan of the New Jersey Devils. He has been covering the re-start of the National Hockey League, (NHL) and the Stanley Cup Finals.