Kesler OT goal knots series at 2-2

A 4-3 overtime Lisbon win on Tuesday evened the Cup Finals and turned it into a best two-out-of-three event.

The game was as close as a coin flip and the two teams were tied in shots on goal 37-37 when the first overtime period was about to end, but on the next shot, it was over. A Gabriel Bourque pass intended for his Belfast teammate Sergei Mozyakin was too far  in front of the Russian and it went right to Slovakian Lisbon forward Marian Hossa who was skating in the direction of the Belfast net. He quickly snapped a pass to Ryan Kesler, who split the defense at the Belfast blueline and snapped a wrist shot that eluded Jonathan Quick’s stick and blocker and flew into the net.

Belfast’s Claude Giroux was the hero a period earlier when he jammed in a wrap-around to beat Kari Ramo with just 18 seconds left. That goal tied the game, sent it to overtime, and gave Belfast fans the feeling their team would return to Northern Ireland with a 3-1 series lead and the chance to win the cup on home ice. Drew Doughty was sitting in the penalty box when Giroux scored his big goal. The big Lisbon defense an interference penalty – probably a good one – as the Giants were pressing to tie the game with their goalie pulled.

Kesler was the only player in the game with more than one point. He scored a goal and had an assist. Jared Spurgeon of Lisbon was named the third star thanks to his 4 blocked shots and 4 shots on Quick, including one that resulted in a shorthanded goal that tied the game 2-2 early in the third period.

Fans should be happy with the fact that, again, both teams are 100 percent rested and healthy for Game 5 today in Belfast.

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