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Lightning struck: Dallas Stars' slow start costs them, Tampa Bay claims Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final

The Lightning tie the series 1-1.
Credit: AP
Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) celebrates his goal against the Montreal Canadiens during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, March 5, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

EDMONTON, AB β€” Welp. We got ourselves a series.

Coming off a dominant victory in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup, the Dallas Stars could not overcome a slow start in Game 2.

The Tampa Bay Lightning jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period and weathered a Stars rally to win, 3-2, from the NHL bubble in Edmonton on Monday.

If you thought Dallas might sweep Tampa -- one of the Cup favorites at the start of the regular season nearly 365 days ago -- Game 2 was a wake-up call.

The Stars came out flat and committed foolish penalties, which added fuel to the Lightning's red-hot offensive attack.

Tampa scored three goals in a four-minute span, including two on the power play.

Brayden Point recorded the first goal -- his 10th of the postseason. 

Ondrej Palat recorded the second goal -- his ninth of the postseason.

Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman were credited with the assists on both power play goals.

Kucherov now has 28 points in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs -- breaking the Lightning franchise record of 26 playoff points. (Point is tied for second-most with 26 points.)

Kucherov, Point and Hedman (and Palat) have been an unstoppable group.

The Stars did an admirable job keeping them in check in Game 1, but again -- they're unstoppable.

As I mentioned in my Stanley Cup series preview, Hedman is the X-factor for the Lightning.

Entering the Cup Final, Tampa was 9-2 in the 2020 Playoffs when Hedman recorded at least one point.

Make it 10-2.

On Monday night, Hedman had two points and Tampa won again. He's the engine to the sports car.

Give the Stars credit. They fought.

RELATED: 5 past connections between the Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning you might not have known about

In the second period, forward Joe Pavelski scored his 10th goal of the postseason -- his 58th playoff goal of his career, which ties Stars legend Mike Modano for second-most all-time by a U.S. born player. Pavelski is now two back of tying the record (60 playoff goals).

The Stars trailed 3-1 entering a chaotic third period. Five and half minutes in, they got within one.

Defenseman John Klingberg -- who has been fantastic during the postseason -- teed up a tap-in for Mattias Janmark 

Klingberg's second assist of the game gave the Stars the jolt (and belief) they needed.

Comebacks have not only become something they're used to in the playoffs, it's become something they excel at.

Dallas mounted a record-tying eight playoff comebacks prior to the Cup Final.

However, their ninth comeback will have to wait.

RELATED: Playoff boom? Dallas Stars fans can take advantage of increased restaurant capacity for Game 2

Tampa locked in during crunch time and the offensive continued to pepper Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin. Dobby was lights out after the four-minute disaster in the opening period, as he stopped 23 of 26 shots. 

Meanwhile, Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy turned away 25 of 27 shots. A strong showing from the young 26-year-old Russian.

Game 2 had a little bit of everything.

Goal scoring, power play scoring, fantastic saves and there was even a 5-player scrap. Tampa's Hedman, Cedric Paquette and Patrick Maroon went to the box, as did Klingberg and Corey Perry for Dallas.

The Stars got a power play out of it, but they also lost forward Blake Comeau who took a blindside hit which triggered the pushing and shoving.

Comeau was declared "unfit to play" and did not return to the game.

"Emotional game," Lightning forward Anthony Cirelli said after the game. "Good team [Stars] over here. Good push from them. We did a good job weathering storm."

Lightning struck on Monday night. It was a matter of when, not if.

Now, we got ourselves a series.

Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final begins Wednesday at 7 p.m. CT.