The Stanley Cup Finals heat up on Monday night as the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Dallas Stars meet up in Game 6. These two teams have played a great series so far and I expect another good one on September 28 as the Lightning try to close out the Stars. This game will drop the puck at around 8:00 PM Eastern time on NBC.
Tampa Bay finished the regular season with a record of 43-21-6, which helped them earn the second seed in the Eastern Conference. The Lightning knocked off the Columbus Blue Jackets, Boston Bruins and New York Islanders to earn a spot in the Stanley Cup Finals. Now Tampa Bay is one win away from hoisting the Stanley Cup, which they will look to get on Monday night.
The Stars put up a record of 37-24-8 throughout the regular season. Dallas earned the third seed in the Western Conference, which put them on a path against the Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche and the Vegas Golden Knights. The Stars knocked them all off and need a huge win in Game 6 to force a Game 7 on Wednesday.
These two teams have met up for a great Stanley Cup Final so far and I expect that to continue on Monday night. Tampa Bay has a chance to clinch the Stanley Cup, while the Stars will look to force a Game 7. I expect both teams to come out aggressive in the first period as they try to net that important first goal.
Game 1 of this series was back on September 19. Dallas jumped out to a great series lead as four different players scored and eleven different players registered a point. Anton Khudobin stopped 35 of 36 shots as the Stars earned a 4-1 win.
The second game of the series was on September 21. Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman both earned two points as the Lightning jumped out to a 3-0 lead. John Klingberg and Alexander Radulov both earned two points as the Stars tried to lead a comeback. Andrei Vasilevskiy turned away 27 of the 29 shots he faced as the Lightning won 3-2 to tie up the series.
The third game of this series was back on September 23. Jason Dickenson and Miro Heiskanen both scored a goal, but it was not enough for Dallas. Victor Hedman scored a goal and two assists, while Nikita Kucherov, Ondrej Palat and Brayden Point all had a goal and an assist. The Lightning dominated for a 5-2 win.
Game 4 of this series was on September 25. Joe Pavelski scored twice to help Dallas force overtime, but the Stars fell short. Brayden Point found the back of the net twice, while Alex Killorn, Nikita Kucherov, Mikhail Sergachev and Kevin Shattenkirk all had two points. Shattenkirk scored the game winner in overtime as the Lightning won 5-4 to take a 3-1 series lead.
The fifth and most recent game of this series was on September 26. Brayden Point earned two assists as Tampa Bay forced another overtime. Tyler Seguin earned three assists, while Joe Pavelski scored the tying goal in the third period. Corey Perry scored twice, including the game winner in double overtime. Anton Khudobin stopped 39 of 41 shots as the Stars closed the game with a 3-2 win.
Tampa Bay’s special teams have really picked up their game since the Stanley Cup started. The Lightning have put up a power play percentage of 22.2 percent throughout the playoffs. Tampa Bay has also killed off 85.5 percent of the penalties against them. The Lightning have gone 6-16 on the power play throughout this series.
The Stars had a really strong special teams unit coming into the Stanley Cup Final but have not been able to beat the Lightning. Dallas has earned a success rate of 23.2 percent on the power play and an 80 percent kill rate. The Stars have gone 1-16 on the power play throughout this series against the Lightning in the Stanley Cup.
The Lightning have been the better team on the power play throughout the Stanley Cup Final. Tampa Bay went 0-1 on the power play in Game 5 though, while Dallas went 0-2 on the power play. If these two teams can stay out of the box, it goes in the Stars favor. If not though, Dallas needs to clean up their play on both sides of special teams.
Andrei Vasilevskiy continues to play well for the Lightning down the stretch. He has earned a record of 17-7 throughout the playoffs. Vasilevskiy has earned a save percentage of .925 and a GAA of 1.97 throughout those games. Vasilevskiy played well in the last game, but will look to step up to help his team clinch the Cup.
Anton Khudobin will get the start again in the crease for the Stars in Game 6 of this series. Khudobin has stepped up this playoff run after Ben Bishop went down with injury. He has posted a record of 14-9 to help the Stars reach the Finals. In those games, Khudobin has earned a .917 save percentage and a GAA of 2.72.
These two goalies have stepped up throughout this postseason, but it has been Vasilevskiy who has been a bit better. After losses, Vasilevskiy has earned a save percentage of .928. The Lightning will lean on him to put up another good performance as they eye the Stanley Cup. If Khudobin can steal the game again though, it could give Dallas a great chance to force a Game 7.
The Lightning are coming off a tough loss in overtime of Game 5, but Tampa Bay still has the series lead over the Stars. I believe that the Lightning have a good chance to clinch the Stanley Cup in Game 6 of this series. Tampa Bay had a good chance to lift it on Saturday night and I do not expect them to miss out on that chance again on Monday night.
BetOnline has Tampa Bay listed as a -160 against the money line in this one. This implies that the Lightning will win this game around 61.5 percent of the time. I believe that this line is a little big, but I like the Lightning in Game 6. Tampa Bay is 5-0 after losing in the playoffs and will look to prove that resilience again in this one.