The Stanley Cup Finals are underway and continuing to build excitement. Game 3 of the series will be on Wednesday night as the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Dallas Stars look to break the tie. These two teams have met in back to back great games and I expect another good one in a pivotal Game 3. This game will drop the puck at around 8:00 PM Eastern time on NBCSN.
Tampa Bay finished out the regular season with a record of 43-21-6, which put them in the round robin play. The Lightning secured the second seed in the Eastern Conference in the round robin. Tampa Bay then faced the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Boston Bruins, which they knocked off in five games each. The Lightning then beat the New York Islanders in six game in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Stars earned a record of 37-24-8 throughout the regular season. Dallas went 1-2 in the round robin, which put them in third place of the Western Conference. The Stars met up with the Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche and the Vegas Golden Knights to reach the Stanley Cup Final. Dallas will now look to take the series lead back with a win in Game 3.
These two teams have met in a great series so far, which should lead to a good Game 3. The Lightning and the Stars are all tied up at 1-1. These two teams will look to break the tie on Wednesday night to earn a huge leg up in the series. I expect a strong matchup between these two teams as they look to earn a much needed pivotal win on September 23.
The Lightning and the Stars met up twice throughout the regular season. The first meeting was in Tampa Bay on December 19. Tyler Seguin scored the game winner in overtime to give the Stars a 4-3 win. The second game of the season series shifted to Dallas on January 27. Jamie Benn scored the game winner in overtime to give Dallas another 3-2 win in overtime.
Game 1 of this series was back on September 19. Yanni Gourde scored for Tampa Bay to tie the game up late in the second period. Joel Hanley, Jamie Oleksiak, Joel Kiviranta and Jason Dickenson all scored for the Stars as Dallas took a 1-0 series lead. Anton Khudobin stopped 35 of 36 shots against him as the Stars won 4-1 to open up the Stanley Cup Final.
The second game of the series was back on September 21. Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman both earned two assists as the Lightning had a fast start. Brayden Point and Ondrej Palat both scored on the power play as Tampa Bay jumped out to a 3-0 lead. John Klingberg and Alexander Radulov both had two assists as the Stars fought back. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 27 of 29 shots against him as the Lightning tied up the series with a 3-2 win.
The Stars were able to win both games against Tampa Bay in the regular season, but find themselves tied up 1-1 in the Stanley Cup. The Lightning jumped out to what looked like a dominant 3-0 first period lead in Game 2, but the Stars were able to claw their way back into this one. If Dallas cleans up their start, they could jump out to the lead in Game 3.
Tampa Bay has put up a solid special team unit throughout the postseason. The Lightning have capitalized on 19.1 percent of their power play chances. Tampa Bay’s penalty kill has killed off 83.8 percent of the penalties against them. The Lightning have gone 2-7 on the power play throughout this series against Dallas.
The Stars have been doing extremely well on both sides of special teams this playoff run. Dallas’ power play has been able to earn a success rate of 26 percent. The Stars have also earned an 82.4 percent penalty kill rate. Dallas has been able to score on one of their seven power play chances throughout the Stanley Cup Final.
Dallas has put up the better special teams’ stats throughout the playoffs, but it has been Tampa Bay’s power play that has done better throughout the first two games. The Stars allowed two power play goals in the first period of Game 2 and will look to avoid taking more penalties as this series goes along. If Dallas can stay out of the box, it will give them a good chance to take the series lead back.
I expect Andrei Vasilevskiy to get the nod in the crease for Tampa Bay throughout Game 3 of this series. Vasilevskiy has earned a record of 15-6 throughout this playoff run. He has posted a save percentage of .929 and a 1.88 GAA in the postseason. Vasilevskiy has earned a save percentage of .896 throughout the first two games of this series.
Anton Khudobin will get the start in the net for Dallas on Wednesday night. Khudobin has conducted this magical playoff run with a record of 13-6. He has put up a .923 save percentage and a GAA of 2.54 during the playoffs. Through the first two games of the Stanley Cup Finals, Khudobin has earned a save percentage of .940.
Vasilevskiy has been better throughout the playoffs in net, but it has been Khudobin who has stolen the show throughout the Stanley Cup Finals. Khudobin struggled early in Game 2, but settled in and pitched a shutout throughout the second and third period. If Khudobin can have a better start in Game 3, it should help the Stars earn a much needed win to take the series lead back.
The Lightning were able to bounce back with a huge win in Game 2 of this series, but I think it will be the Stars who take the lead back in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Dallas had a tough start to the second game of this series, but if they have a better start, they could be up 2-0. I like the Stars chances to bounce back and take the series lead back.
BetOnline has Tampa Bay listed as a -148 against the money line in this one. This implies that the Lightning will win this game around 59.7 percent of the time. I believe that this line is too big. This series has been really tight, and the line should show that. I believe that the Stars have a lot of value in this one as big underdogs, making them my pick for Game 3.