Tampa Bay Lightning at Dallas Stars

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

The Tampa Bay Lightning and Dallas Stars prepare to play the second game of a mini-series that features the two teams in last season’s Stanley Cup Final. The Lightning took the first game 2-1 and the game was a reminder of how both teams responded to reaching the Cup. The Lightning continues to look like the best team in the NHL while the Dallas Stars have stumbled out of the gate this season and might be looking to trade away key players at the deadline.

Tampa continues to dominate

The Lightning has won their last five games to give them a clear lead in the Central Division and put them on track to repeat as Stanley Cup Champions. The big reason for the repeated success has been the great play of goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, saving .933 percent of shots and allowing only 1.8 goals per game to make him the clear front-runner for the Vezina Trophy. In addition to Vasilevskiy’s play, the defense has also done a great job with Victor Hedman contributing 2.7 defensive point shares and 50 blocked shots and the pairing of Erik Cernak and Mikhail Sergachev combining for 4.1 defensive point shares.

While the defense is playing incredibly this season, allowing only 2.2 goals per game, the offense is finding scoring throughout their lineup with 10 skaters having 6 goals or more this season. Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point have led the way combining for 29 goals this season but Yanni Gourde and Ondrej Palat have scored 12 and 11 goals respectively to give the Lightning 4 skaters with 10 goals or more. In addition, defenseman Victor Hedman has been a force from the point, with 6 goals and a team-leading 27 assists.

Stars struggle to find offense

The Dallas Stars once again struggled to generate any offense as they only scored one goal in the recent defeat to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Scoring 2.7 goals per game, it has become clear that the Dallas Stas weakness this season has been their inability to generate any type of offense. Aside from Joe Pavelski, who has 14 goals this season, the Stars have yet to find another skate to crack the 10-goal mark on the season.

While the offense has played poorly, the defense has kept the Stars in games, allowing only 2.4 goals per game. Miro Heiskanen and Esa Lindell have combined for 3.5 defensive point shares and 70 blocked shots while the trio of Jamie Olesiak, John Klingberg, and Andrej Sekera have combined for 3.9 defensive point shares. In addition, the goaltending duo of Anton Khudobin and Jake Oettinger has been playing well for Dallas, allowing fewer than 2.4 goals per game and saving .911 percent of shots.

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
Rating:

The Stars played a close game against the Lightning in the first game and had the 1-0 lead in the game as well. While it’s easy to think that the Stars are going to even the score at home, the recent game can be viewed as an outlier and not a regular occurrence. The Lightning should be able to pile on the goals in this game with their high-flying offense and Victor Hedman making plays from the point. In addition, the Lightning should be able to eliminate the Stars offense, which has been struggling this season, with a great game from their defense. The Lightning should be able to win this game and win easily as well.

Prediction:
Lightning (-170)

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Full-Game Total Pick
Rating:

The two teams combined for 3 goals in the first game and it’s natural to think that the goals are going to pile in for the upcoming game with both teams bouncing back offensively. The problem is that the Stars offense has been terrible this season and has struggled against good defenses like the one that Tampa possesses. Expect the Lightning to be able to constantly eliminate the Stars offense with another great night from Andrei Vasilevskiy in goal while the Lightning finds a few goals but don’t run up the score. The Under should be able to cover as a result with both defenses playing well, especially the Lightning’s

Prediction:
Under 5.5