The NHL is set up with another Saturday packed with hockey action on February 27. Fourteen games will be up on the board throughout Saturday. One of these games will be a rematch of last season’s Stanley Cup Final between the Dallas Stars and the Tampa Bay Lightning. These two teams will look for a big win in this one. This game will drop the puck at around 7:00 PM Eastern time.
Dallas has earned a record of 6-5-4 to this point in the season, which has them sitting in sixth place of the Central Division. The Stars have struggled to have any consistency this season, which has not helped with COVID-19 issues and a storm that postponed more games. Dallas has lost seven of their last eight and will look to get a win in this one.
The Lightning have opened up this season with a record of 13-4-1, which has them in second place of the Central Division. Tampa Bay is one point behind the Florida Panthers, but are only two points up on the fourth seeded Carolina Hurricanes. The Lightning have won three games in a row and will look to carry that momentum over into this one.
Tampa Bay has had a much better start to this season so far, but will look to knock off the Stars in this one. Dallas has been in a terrible losing streak, but will look to turn it around on Saturday night. The Stars can still get back into the playoff picture, but need to get things going soon. I expect an exciting rematch between these two teams.
The Stars and the Lightning met up twice throughout the regular season last season. Tampa Bay hosted the first game back on December 19. Ondrej Palat and Mikhail Sergachev both had a goal and an assist to force overtime in this one. Alexander Radulov and Tyler Seguin both had a goal and an assist as well on the night. John Klingberg added two assists as Dallas grabbed a 4-3 win in overtime.
The second game of the season series shifted to Dallas on January 27. Steven Stamkos had two goals on the night, while Nikita Kucherov had two assists. It was not enough for the Lightning though. Denis Gurianov had a goal on the night. Jamie Benn scored twice, including the game winner in overtime. Ben Bishop stopped 23 of the 25 shots he faced as the Stars won 3-2.
These two teams met up in the Stanley Cup Final as well last season. The Stars were able to take Game 1 with a nice 4-1 win. Tampa Bay was able to rattle of three wins through Game 2 to Game 4 though. This gave the Lightning a 3-1 series lead. Dallas kept their hopes alive with a win in Game 5, but Tampa Bay earned the ultimate goal with a win in Game 6.
The Stars have had a strong start to this season on special teams. Dallas has been able to score on 17 of their 55 power play opportunities, which is a 30.9 percent power play. The Stars have also been strong on the penalty kill. Dallas has killed off 46 of the 57 penalties against them, which is an 80.7 percent kill rate this season.
Tampa Bay has also been really strong on special teams to this point in the season. The Lightning have been able to capitalize on 15 of their 61 power play chances, which is a 24.6 percent success rate. Tampa Bay has given up 8 power play goals on their opponents 61 attempts, which is an 86.9 percent penalty kill so far this season.
These two teams have been strong on special teams throughout the early part of this season. The Lightning have had the better penalty kill to this point in the season, but it will be tested against Dallas’ power play. If either team can put up a strong power play performance in this one, it could help lead their team to the win.
Anton Khudobin will likely get the start in the crease for the Stars on Saturday night. Khudobin has earned a record of 4-4-1 throughout his 9 starts this season. He has put up a save percentage of .928 and a 2.35 GAA in those starts as well. Khudobin stopped all 43 shots he faced in his last start against the Florida Panthers on February 24.
I expect Andrei Vasilevskiy to get the nod between the pipes for Tampa Bay in this one. Vasilevskiy has started in 15 games this season, going 11-3-1 so far. He has posted a .935 save percentage and a GAA of 1.87 in those games. Vasilevskiy’s last start was against the Carolina Hurricanes on February 24, where he stopped all 25 shots he faced in the winning effort.
These two goalies have had very strong starts to this season. Both goalies are coming into this one off shutout performances in their last start and will look to keep it up in this one. These two offenses will need to test the goalies early and often if they want to grab a win on Saturday night. I expect a great goaltending battle between Khudobin and Vasilevskiy though.
Dallas has struggled a lot as of late coming into this one, but I think they will get some life as they try to get some revenge on the Lightning. The Stars have the better power play and if Khudobin can play like he has been as of late, it could give them the win. Tampa Bay has been strong this season, but I think that the Stars can hand them a loss in this matchup.
BetOnline has the Lightning listed as a -190 against the money line in this one. This implies that Tampa Bay will win this game around 65.5 percent of the time. The Lightning deserve this line, but with the Stars playing them for the first time since the Stanley Cup, I think it should be closer to even. I really like Dallas to come out hot in this one and as big underdogs, I really like the value.