Shattenkirk's goal lifts Lightning to verge of Stanley Cup title

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Kevin Shattenkirk scored the game winner at 6:34 of overtime to lift the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-4 victory over the Dallas Stars in game four of the Stanley Cup finals on Friday.

The Lightning hold a 3-1 lead in the series and are one win away from their second NHL championship to go with a 2004 title.

"We have been a real resilient group," said Tampa forward Alex Killorn. "Every time we have had a challenge, we have been able to step up."

Shattenkirk's goal came on the power play as he fired a wrist shot through the legs of Dallas defenceman Jamie Oleksiak that beat goalie Anton Khudobin on the stick side.

It was the third power play goal of the game for Tampa and the third of the playoffs for Shattenkirk had to have felt somewhat vindicated after the Stars' game-tying fourth goal bounced off him into his own net.

Brayden Point had two goals, Killorn had a goal and an assist and Shattenkirk also added an assist for the Lightning, who scored late goals at both the end of the first period and the second period to keep the game close.

Yanni Gourdi also scored and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 26 shots, including a couple of spectacular saves from point blank range, in the win.

Game five will be Saturday night in the NHL's quarantine bubble in Edmonton, Alberta.

Tampa coach Jon Cooper said he was especially pleased with the way Point and his linemates played.

"I don't know if they were playing against us if we would be able to defend it," Cooper said.

Joe Pavelski scored two goals for Stars, who finally got some much needed offence from their top line of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin.

Benn had an assist and Seguin finished with two assists. They are the first points of the series for both players.

The Lightning were missing Steven Stamkos in game four after their injured captain made his postseason debut in game three and scored a goal. Stamkos played just three minutes of the previous game before appearing to reinjure himself.

The Stars now have their work cut out for them as they try to win their second championship and first since 1999.

They are the only team this postseason to win a best-of-seven series after trailing 2-1, but now they are in a much deeper hole than that against the heavily-favoured Lightning.

The Lightning fell behind early and didn't take their first lead in the game until the third period.

Dallas defenceman John Klingberg opened the scoring 7:17 into the first with an unassisted goal. Klingberg broke in on the Tampa defence and his first shot attempt was blocked but the puck bounced back onto his stick and he made no mistake on his second chance.

American Pavelski made it 2-0 by finishing off a two-on-one rush with teammate Benn with 92 seconds left in the first.

Point cut the lead to one goal with 33 seconds left by executing a nifty move at high speed. The goal was scored in the blink of an eye as it took just two long passes for Tampa to go the full length of the ice and for Point to race in alone and outsmart Khudobin with a forehand to backhand move.

Point tied it 2-2 just over two minutes into the second with his second goal by batting the puck out of mid-air into the net.

Dallas forward Corey Perry restored the one goal lead, 3-2, by scoring into the open side during a scramble in the crease at 8:26. But the Lightning got another late period goal, this time from Gourde, to tie it 3-3 with 66 seconds left in the second.

- Suspect penalty -

Tampa's Killorn and Stars' Pavelski traded goals in the third to tie it 4-4. Killorn took a shot from a bad angle that went straight in, while Pavelski's angle shot at 11:35 deflected off Shattenkirk and into his own net.

That set the stage for Shattenkirk's winner which came off a suspect tripping call by the officials on Benn.

Benn got tangled up with Tyler Johnson in the centre of the rink and the much bigger Benn outmuscled Johnson who fell to the ice.

"Jamie breathes on him and the guy falls over," Pavelski said of Johnson.

Dallas coach Rick Bowness didn't like the penalty either, calling it a routine "hockey play."