HIGHLIGHTS | PHOTO GALLERY | STATISTICS
Game 4 played out in almost three distinct acts, and the Canes unfortunately might have let one slip away, especially when putting four pucks by Andrei Vasilevskiy, all at 5-on-5 play.
The Lightning came out in the first period looking like a team that didn't lose consecutive games in the 2020 playoffs and has yet to do so again this year, and they took advantage of their early jump by netting the first goal of the game. It was the first time this series that a team scored in the first period and the eighth time in 10 games that the Canes have been scored on first.
But it was still just a 1-0 game with plenty of hockey left to play, so the Canes regrouped and came out a much better team in the second.
"We wanted to come out harder than we did in the first," Jesper Fast said. "We had the momentum, and suddenly it went pretty quickly."
Maybe the most frustrating part of the game was how quickly the Canes saw their momentum slip away from them. The Bolts' ever-dangerous power play only grew stronger the more it hopped over the boards.
"We weren't sharp, and then we got going," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "We had some good momentum, and the penalties killed us."
Up 4-2, the Canes then surrendered three goals, two of which were scored on the power play, in the span of five minutes late in the second period.
"We knew coming in you couldn't take penalties against these guys, and we were taking them. I think there was some frustration on the guys' part and mine. They were penalties, but there were definitely some the other way getting let go," Brind'Amour said. "You can't take the penalties, no matter if you're getting calls or not."
The third act was the Lightning shutting the Canes down in the third period, stymieing any good chance they had of mounting a comeback and pushing them to the brink of elimination.
"Hockey is a back-and-forth game, especially when you're playing that caliber of team. You're going to have those ebbs and flows in the game," Jaccob Slavin said. "You score four in a period, and you're feeling good. Then the momentum kind of swings. You can't let that happen."
The simple difference was once again special teams: The Lightning scored on their last three power plays of the game and finished 3-for-6 on the evening.
"We took some bad penalties tonight. If you give that caliber of power play that many chances, it's not a recipe for success," Slavin said. "We've just got to stay more disciplined. Play hard, but play smart, as well."
"You can't give them too many cracks at it, right? They don't need a lot of opportunities. … They've got guys who can finish. That's what they do. That's the story," Brind'Amour said. "We can't take those penalties, and we did."
The Second Period
So, let's talk about the wild ride that was the second period, the highest scoring period of playoff hockey since 2010.
After combining to score 11 goals in the first three games of the series, the Canes and Lightning then scored eight goals in the second period of Game 4 alone.
Having killed their third straight penalty of the game, the Canes were buzzing with momentum. Jordan Staal got in on the forecheck and won a board battle. Andrei Svechnikov then did the same and spun the puck down low to Staal, who located Teuvo Teravainen in the slot for the one-time finish.
Video: CAR@TBL, Gm4: Teravainen nets Staal's feed from slot
Just 39 seconds after Teravainen got the Canes on the board, Fast put his team ahead. Jordan Martinook dropped the puck off at the point for Slavin and then redirected the puck in the slot. The biscuit kicked off the skate of Jan Rutta in front of the net, and Fast spun to sweep in his first of the postseason.
Video: CAR@TBL, Gm4: Fast scores 39 seconds after Teravainen
Steven Stamkos evened the score at two on the power play, but the Canes got the goal back just 41 seconds later, the culmination of another relentless bump-up shift. The Canes rolled around with the puck down low before working it up to the point, where Hamilton rotated and let go of a wrister that found its way through traffic and eluded Vasilevskiy.
Video: CAR@TBL, Gm4: Hamilton elevates goal through traffic
The Canes' top defensive pair wasn't done scoring. Just 2:06 after Hamilton restored the Canes' lead, his defensive partner doubled it to 4-2.
Cedric Paquette settled the puck at the point and faked shot before sliding it over to Slavin, who walked down the left-side wall and snuck a shot through Vasilevskiy from a seemingly impossible angle.
Video: CAR@TBL, Gm4: Slavin wires sharp-angle goal up high
The Canes outscored the Lightning 4-1 at 5-on-5 in the second period, but Tampa's lethal power play connected three straight times.
"They're really good on the power play. We've got to be way more disciplined than we were today," Fast said. "5-on-5, we played good. We did a lot of good things. I really believe that if we play our way and stay out of the box, we can turn this series around."
7: The Canes scored four goals in a single postseason period for the seventh time in franchise history and third since the team relocated to North Carolina.
9: Nine goals is the Stanley Cup Playoffs record for most goals scored by two teams in a single period, last achieved in 1990.
10: Ten different skaters recorded at least a point for the Canes. Slavin (1g, 1a) and Svechnikov (2a) finished with multi-point efforts.
Summing It Up
Quote of the Night
"Emotionally, we've got to stay in it and do what we can to control what we can control, and that's our work ethic. … We've got to be smarter out there and continue to work hard." - Jaccob Slavin
It's the first of three consecutive must-win games for the Canes when the puck drops in Game 5 at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday in Raleigh.