For three games, the Tampa Bay Lightning power play was dormant, going 1-for-14 against the Detroit Red Wings. This was to be expected, since the Lightning power play was No. 28 in the NHL this season at 15.8 percent, and that was with Steven Stamkos for most of the season.
The saving grace? The Wings’ power-play had gone a putrid 1-for-17.
But Game 4 was different. Game 4 was the moment when the Lightning power play exerted itself, the Detroit penalty kill was overwhelmed, and the reigning Eastern Conference champions moved one win away from advancing with a 3-2 win and a 3-1 series lead. The Bolts went 3-for-5 on the power play, scoring all of their goals on special teams.
Nikita Kucherov scored first, and made it look easy, scoring eight seconds into the man advantage:
Jonathan Drouin had the secondary assist on that first goal; he perfectly set up Kucherov on the second goal in the second period:
The Red Wings rallied, impressively, to tie the game at 2-2. But then it was Drouin again, making it happen:
That was Ondrej Palat, watching the Red sea part in front of him, and tucking home Drouin’s pass for the 3-2 win.
For Drouin … well, this is what he is at the moment: a game-changing offensive player, and a minus-2 at even strength.
But his three points on the man advantage were the difference for the Lightning.
Good thing they never gave up on him, right?
"I'm unbelievably proud of the way he's handled himself with our team, our staff. He deserves this. The one thing that gets missed in all of this is we never ever gave up on Jonathan,” said Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper, via Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times.
"When he gets his motor running and speed going, it's pretty magical to watch. Really glad he's on our team right now."
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