Tampa Bay Lightning at Dallas Stars

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

The Tampa Bay Lightning are first in the Central division at 14-4-1 and 29 points. Tampa Bay is tied with Florida for the lead but has one more victory then the Panthers. Tampa Bay defeated Dallas 5-0 in the first of two consecutives games with the Stars on Saturday. Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped all 20 shots he faced in net for his second consecutive shutout and the 23rd of his NHL career. Tampa Bay has won four straight after winning three straight over the Carolina Hurricanes.

With the loss to Tampa Bay on Saturday, the Dallas Stars are 6-6-4 with 16 points and sit in the Central division cellar. Dallas is 13 points off the pace set by Tampa Bay and Florida and one point behind Detroit. Yes that’s correct, Dallas is behind Detroit in the Central Division standings. The Stars have lost two straight and three of the last four with only a 3-0 victory over the Florida Panthers mixed in during that four-game stretch. Dallas is having problems scoring, while it’s blue line and defense has played above-average through the first 16 games of the regular season.

Tampa Bay is Best in the NHL in Goal

Tampa Bay as the NHL’s best goalie at this point of the regular season. The Lightning are allowing an average of only 2.05 goals-per-game with the biggest reason being Andrei Vasilevskiy. The Russian is 12-3-1 with a 1.75 goals against average and .938 save percentage. In Saturday’s victory over Dallas, Vasilevskiy pushed aside all 20 shots he faced in net and prior to that on Wednesday in a 3-0 shutout victory over Carolina, Vasilevskiy pushed aside all 25 shots the Hurricanes put on net.The penalty kill unit for Tampa Bay has also come through big as Tampa Bay is holding opponents scoreless 88.1% of the time when short-handed.

The Lightning are scoring an average of 3.63 goals per game. Leading the way in goals scored is veteran Steve Stamkos with 10 and the center is also leading Tampa Bay in points with 19. Victor Hedman is the assist leader for Tampa Bay with 15. Tampa Bay is scoring 27.0% of the time on its power play and the Lightning have scored 17 goals with the man advantage.

Injury Report: Mitchell Stephens is due back in mid-April, while Nikita Kucherov and Anders Nilsson are out indefinitely and Marian Gaborik is out for the season.

Dallas needs help scoring goals

Dallas has lost three of its last four and over that period, the Stars have scored 6 goals or an average of 1.50 goals per game and are coming off a game in which they were held scoreless 5-0 by the Tampa Bay Lightning. The leading goal scorer for Dallas is Joe Pavelski with 10 and the veteran center is the leader in total points for Dallas with 20. Defenseman John Klingberg leads the Stars in assists with 11. However, overall this season Dallas is scoring only 2.71 goals-per-game. The power play has scored 27.9% of the time with the man advantage.

Dallas would likely have not won six games if not for solid goaltending and play on the blue line. Dallas is allowing an average of 2.53 goals per game and Anton Khudobin is 4-5-1 with a 2.72 goals-against average and .906 save percentage. Back up Jake Oettinger is 1-0-0 with a 3.00 goals against average and .876 save percentage in four appearances between the pipes. The Dallas penalty-kill unit has been successful 78.0% of the time while shorthanded.

Injury Report: Alexander Radulov is due back in early March, while Tyler Seguin is due back in mid March, Ben Bishop in early April and Steven Johns is lost for the season

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet

Tampa Bay has the NHL’s best performing goaltender as Andrei Vasilevskiy is allowing an average of just 1.75 goals per game. Overall, Tampa Bay is allowing an average of only 2.05 goals per game, while the Lightning are producing 3.63 goals-per-game in the attacks zone. Tampa Bay has won each of its last four and overall the Lightning have won 58ight of their last 80. In contrast, Dallas has lost eight of its last nine and each of its last four on its home ice. Injuries have played a big part in Dallas’ slow start as the Stars are without No. 1 goalie Ben Bishop and leading scorer from last season Tyler Seguin as well as second leading scorer Alexander Radulov.

Tampa Bay Lightning -161

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Full-Game Total Pick

Although Tampa Bay is scoring an average of 3.63 goals per game the Lightning are allowing an average of only 2.05 goals per game. Dallas has had it’s problem scoring goals averaging just 2.71 goals per game and the blue line in goaltenders for the Stars are allowing an average of only 2.53 goals per game. That all adds up to the total finishing under.