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Game 4: Lightning beat Hurricanes 6-4; lead series 3-1

The lesson from Game 3: If the Bolts don't reach the Final, it's because they beat themselves.
Credit: AP
Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Petr Mrazek (34) stops a shot by Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) during the second period in Game 3 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series Thursday, June 3, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lighting beat the Carolina Hurricanes 6-4 in Game 4. The Lightning now lead the series 3-1 and are one win away from advancing to the next round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Get live updates on Game 4 on 10 Tampa Bay's Twitter.

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There was a lot to like from the Lightning in Game 3 of the second round.

The power play scored twice after entering the day 1-for-5 in the series.

They had better puck possession.

Tampa Bay out-shot Carolina for the first time all series, 37-27, after putting only 15 pucks on net in the previous game.

The only thing not to like? The final score.

Carolina thrust itself back in the series with a 3-2 win in overtime.

The game-winning goal came while the Bolts were on the penalty kill. It may be fair to hypothesize if the Bolts don’t reach the Final, it’s due to self-inflicted wounds.

Nikita Kucherov was called for holding against Martin Necas in OT. It was his second penalty of the day---the first was interference on Brett Pesce in the first period---both seemingly committed out of frustration.

This issue isn’t new for the Lightning. They served a league-high 597 penalty minutes in the regular season.

In their two first-round losses to Florida, Tampa Bay was called for a combined nine penalties and gave up three power play goals.

That isn’t to say it’s Kucherov’s fault for the loss. If it weren’t for his assists on the Bolts’ two power play goals, they wouldn’t have even been in the game.

Trailing 2-0 in the second period, Steven Stamkos received the puck in the left circle and showed patience as he surveyed his options. He fired a cross-ice pass to the right circle for Kucherov, who immediately hit Brayden Point in the low slot for a tap-in goal.

About seven minutes later, the Lightning got another power play and converted.

After a saved shot from the slot, Kucherov followed his rebound, drawing three defenders to him. He quickly dished the puck to Alex Killorn, who buried it to tie the game 2-2.

The Lightning never lost two straight games during their run to the Stanley Cup in 2020. They’re 9-0 in games following a loss over the last two postseasons.

The most recent instance was just two weeks ago against Florida.

Up 2-0 in the series with a 5-3 lead entering the third period of Game 3, the Panthers scored twice to force overtime and win on a Ryan Lomberg breakaway goal. They bounced back with a 6-2 win in Game 4 and went on to win the series.

"The playoffs are a big [darn] roller coaster," coach Jon Cooper said. "You can't get too excited when you're high, you can't get too low when it's low, and you've just got to keep trusting your process. Our guys have done a hell of a job doing that, and I expect they'll do it again."

There may be a lineup change in Game 4 against the Canes.

Defenseman David Savard participated in Friday’s optional practice. He’s missed the last three games with an upper-body injury. Coach Jon Cooper says the d-man is “getting closer” to a return.

RELATED: Bolts fall in OT, Hurricanes beat Lightning in Game 3

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