EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) – Ondrej Palat scored to pull the Tampa Bay Lightning into a 1-1 tie with the Dallas Stars after two periods of Game 5 of the final Saturday night as they try to finish the series and win the Stanley Cup.
They will need at least one more goal in the next 20 minutes – or beyond – to make that happen. Corey Perry scored in the first period for Dallas, which is playing hard to avoid elimination and the end of the NHL playoffs in the bubble.
Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin did his part in that effort, stopping postseason leading goal-scorer Brayden Point on a shot in the final seconds of the second period. Khudobin had 22 saves through the first 40 minutes.
There wasn’t much he could do on Palat’s 11th of the postseason 4:37 into the second. The top-line winger got the puck from Nikita Kucherov, skated around usually dependable Dallas defenseman Esa Lindell and Khudobin before depositing it into a mostly empty net.
It might’ve been the spark the Lightning needed as they try to win the Cup for the first time with this core group of players and the second time in franchise history (2004).
Stars winger Alexander Radulov had a big hand in Perry’s goal that opened the scoring by shaking up defenseman Mikhail Sergachev with a check. With Sergachev in pain, Tyler Seguin carried the puck toward the net, Perry ended up with it on his stick and he lifted it past Andrei Vasilevskiy for his second goal in as many games. Vasilevskiy has 13 saves.
The Stars have been playing with five defensemen since midway through the first period when veteran Andrej Sekera limped off after blocking a shot from Sergachev. Sekera tested the injury after the first intermission but went right back down the tunnel.
Dallas can ill afford another injury after adding forward Roope Hintz to their growing list of unavailable players. Hintz was injured in Game 4 Friday night when he crashed into the boards. Forwards Radek Faksa and Blake Comeau, defenseman Stephen Johns and goaltender Ben Bishop are also out.
For Tampa Bay, captain Steven Stamkos was the only notable absence after he tweaked something in his triumphant Game 3 return that included him scoring on his only shot.
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