The NHL is set up with a great night of action throughout May 7. Seven games are up on the board throughout Friday night. One of these games will be between the Dallas Stars and the Tampa Bay Lightning. These two teams will look for a big two points in this matchup. This game will drop the puck at around 7:00 PM Eastern time.
Dallas has put up a record of 21-18-14 throughout this season, which has them sitting in fifth place of the Central Division. The Stars have lost five games in a row in this one and need to turn it around. Dallas if four points out of the fourth seed with a game in hand. The Stars need to be perfect in their last three games in they want to snag that final playoff spot.
The Lightning has earned a record of 36-14-3 to this point in the season, which has them sitting in second place of the Central Division. Tampa Bay is four points behind the top seeded Carolina Hurricanes with three games left. The Lightning have won back to back games and six of their last seven. Tampa Bay will look for a big win in this one.
These two teams have been solid throughout this season and need these two points. Tampa Bay is trying to grab the top spot in the Central Division, but need to go just about perfect. Dallas cannot have another pointless game if they want to steal the fourth seed. I expect both teams to come out strong in this one as they look for a huge win.
The Stars and the Lightning have met up seven times so far this season. The first two games were a home and home on February 27 and March 2. Anthony Cirelli and Steven Stamkos each had a goal and an assist in the first game as Tampa Bay won 5-0. Andrei Vasilevskiy earned another shutout in the second meeting to give the Lightning a 2-0 win.
The next three games of the season series were in Dallas on March 16 and 25. Brayden Point had a goal and an assist as the Lightning grabbed a 4-3 win in the shootout. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 16 of 17 shots in the fourth matchup to lead Tampa Bay to a 2-1 win. Roope Hintz and Joe Pavelski both had a goal and two assists in the fifth game as the Stars bounced back with a 4-3 win.
Tampa Bay hosted the sixth game of the season series on April 29. Ondrej Palat, Blake Coleman and Brayden Point all had a goal on the night for the Lightning. Jake Oettinger stopped 25 of 27 shots, but it was not enough. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped all 20 shots he faced to help Tampa Bay earn the 3-0 win at home.
The seventh and most recent game of the season series was on May 5 in Tampa Bay. Tyler Seguin and Andrej Sekara both had a goal for the Stars, but once again Dallas came up short. Erik Cernak had a goal and two assists on the night. Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn and Brayden Point all had a goal and an assist on the night to help lead the Lightning to a 6-2 win.
Dallas has been strong on the power play so far this season. The Stars have capitalized on 36 of their 153 power play chances, which is a 23.5 percent success rate. Dallas has struggled a bit on the penalty kill though. The Stars have killed off 113 of their opponents 143 power play attempts, which is a 79 percent penalty kill.
The Lightning have been strong on both sides of special teams so far this season. Tampa Bay has scored on 39 of their 165 power play opportunities, which is a 23.6 percent power play. The Lightning have given up 28 power play goals on 171 penalties against, which is an 83.6 percent kill rate. Tampa Bay will look to keep up their special teams success in this one.
Both of these teams have put up similar power play numbers throughout this season. Tampa Bay has a big edge on the penalty kill though. The Stars could gain the edge in this one though as the Lightning have taken a lot of penalties. If Dallas can get on the man advantage a lot in this one, I think they could pull off the upset on the road.
I expect Anton Khudobin to get the nod between the pipes for the Stars in this one. Khudobin has earned a record of 11-10-7 throughout his starts this season. He has posted a save percentage of .906 and a 2.50 GAA on the season. Khudobin stopped 11 of 15 shots in his last start against the Panthers before getting pulled in the loss.
Andrei Vasilevskiy will likely get the start in the net for Tampa Bay on Friday night. Vasilevskiy has started in 40 games this season, going 31-8-1. He has put up a .928 save percentage and a GAA of 2.10 on the season. Vasilevskiy stopped 20 of 22 shots in Wednesday’s win over the Stars. He will look to build off that in this one.
These two goalies have been solid this season, but Vasilevskiy definitely give the Lightning the edge. Khudobin has had some days off coming into this one and will look to come out strong in this one. Khudobin has lost four of his last five games and will look to bounce back in this one. The Stars will need to put more pressure on Vasilevskiy if they want the win in this one.
Dallas has lost six of their seven games against the Lightning throughout this season. The Stars will need to step up on special teams in this one if they want to gain the edge. Tampa Bay is still looking to grab the top spot in the Central, while Dallas is trying to earn the final playoff spot. I think the Stars will come out fast in this one as they try to stay alive in the playoff hunt.
BetOnline has Tampa Bay listed as a -153 against the money line in this one. This implies that the Lightning will win this game around 60.5 percent of the time. This line makes sense with Tampa Bay being much better this season, but I think Dallas will come out desperate for the win. I think the Stars will put the pressure on early, which could help them pull off the upset.