The NHL is going strong with the Stanley Cup Final continuing on Monday night. Game 2 will start on September 21 as the Dallas Stars and the Tampa Bay Lightning continue their battle for sports greatest trophy. These two teams played a great Game 1 and I expect another good matchup on Monday night. This game will drop the puck at around 8:00 PM Eastern time on NBCSN.
The Stars finished out the regular season with a record of 37-24-8, which put them in the round robin. Dallas put up a 1-2 record throughout the round robin, which put them in third place of the Western Conference. The Stars went on to beat the Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche and the Vegas Golden Knights to reach the Stanley Cup Final. Now Dallas will look to take a 2-0 series lead.
Tampa Bay earned a record of 43-21-6 throughout this season. The Lightning also went to the round robin, where they went 2-1 to earn the second seed. Tampa Bay knocked off the Columbus Blue Jackets and Boston Bruins both in five games. The Lightning then beat the New York Islanders in six games in the Eastern Conference Final. Now Tampa Bay will look to bounce back to tie up this series.
These two teams met in an exciting Game 1 of this series and I look for both teams to make some adjustments in Game 2. The Lightning struggled, but have made adjustments in every one of their losses this postseason. Tampa Bay has not lost back to back games in the playoffs and they will look to keep that up. Dallas earned a big win in Game 1 and will look to make a push in Game 2.
The Stars and the Lightning met up twice during the regular season. Tampa Bay hosted the first game back on December 19. Ondrej Palat and Mikhail Sergachev both scored a goal and an assist as the Lightning pushed this game to overtime. Alexander Radulov and Tyler Seguin both earned a goal and an assist as well. Seguin scored the game winner in overtime, while Anton Khudobin stopped 45 of 48 shots as Dallas won 4-3 in overtime.
The second game of the season series shifted to Dallas on January 27. Steven Stamkos scored two goals, while Nikita Kucherov both earned two assists. It still was not enough for Tampa Bay to win though. Jamie Benn scored two goals, including a game winner in overtime. Ben Bishop turned away 23 of 25 shots as the Stars won another game 3-2.
Game 1 of this series was back on September 19. Yanni Gourde scored the lone goal for the Lightning, tying up the game late in the first. Joel Hanley, Jamie Oleksiak, Joel Kiviranta and Jason Dickinson all scored for the Stars as Dallas took a 1-0 series lead. Anton Khudobin stopped 35 of 36 shots as the Stars won 4-1 to upset Tampa Bay in Game 1.
The Stars won both games against Tampa Bay during the regular season and were able to take Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Dallas found ways to knock off the Lightning, including two wins with Khudobin in net. Khudobin has caught fire throughout these playoffs and Tampa Bay will need to find a way to break through on him.
The Stars have been one of the top teams on special teams throughout this postseason run. Dallas has made around 26.5 percent of their power play chances in the playoffs. The Stars have also killed off 83.9 percent of the penalties against him. In Game 1 of this series, Dallas struggled a bit on the power play, going 0-2 on the man advantage.
Tampa Bay has been a bit rough on the power play throughout this playoff run. The Lightning have only been able to make 17 percent of the power plays they have had. Tampa Bay’s penalty kill has been really strong though, earning an 84.1 percent kill rate. The Lighting could not get their power play going in Game 1, going 0-3 on the power play.
The Stars hold a slight advantage on special teams in this series, putting up a much better power play in the playoffs. If Tampa Bay’s penalty kill can shut down Dallas like they did in Game 1 though, it will even up the odds. If either team can break through on the power play in this one, I expect it to give them a big advantage going forward into the series.
Anton Khudobin will get the start in the crease for Monday night’s matchup. Khudobin has earned a record of 13-6 throughout this playoff run, which has helped them reach the Stanley Cup Final. He has put up a save percentage of .923 and a 2.54 GAA throughout those starts. Khudobin stopped 35 of 36 shots in Game 1 and will look to keep that strong streak up.
Andrei Vasilevskiy will get the nod in the net for Game 2 of this series for Tampa Bay. Vasilevskiy has posted a record of 14-6 throughout the playoffs for the Lightning. He has put up a .929 save percentage and a GAA of 1.88 in this run. Vasilevskiy turned away 16 of 19 shots in Game 1 and will look to put up a better performance in Game 2.
Khudobin has been almost unbeatable in net throughout the Conference Finals and now the Stanley Cup Finals. The Lightning need to find a way to solve him before they find themselves down too far in the series. Vasilevskiy had a rough performance in Game 1 of this series, but I expect him to bounce back as he has done many times throughout the playoffs.
The Stars started off the Stanley Cup Finals with a bang taking down Tampa Bay. Now the Lightning will look to bounce back with a huge win in Game 2. I expect Tampa Bay to come out strong in this one to continue to put pressure on Khudobin. If the Lightning can break through on the Stars netminder, I think they can dominate on Monday night to tie up the series.
BetOnline has Tampa Bay listed as a -145 against the money line in Game 2. This implies that the Lightning will win this game around 59.2 percent of the time. I believe that this is a good line, but it is does not have a lot of value. I think that Tampa Bay can cover the line of -1 ½, whether they dominate or score an empty netter. I like the Lightning a lot to tie this series up with a big win.