The Tampa Bay Lightning and Dallas Stars continue to battle for the Stanley Cup. They will play Game 3 of the series on Wednesday night, splitting the previous two games.
The Stars won Game 1 by a score of 4-1. The game was even at a goal each after the first period, but Dallas scored three unanswered in the last two periods.
Game 2 was a win for the Lightning with a score of 3-2. They scored three goals in the first period, and the Stars comeback efforts fell short.
Lightning Remain Favorites
Tampa Bay is still the favorite to win the Stanley Cup, but they had a scare after losing Game 1. They followed that with an impressive defensive performance in Game 2.
Dallas tried to tie the game up, but the Lightning held them to two shots on goal in the last 14:33.
“The one thing that this team has done is they just never put themselves in panic mode,” Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. “Instead of trying to protect the lead, they went out there, and actually, they kind of took it to them. Not in the sense that we were trying to score, but we were completely engaged. … They knew the job at hand, the talk on the bench was to close this out, and that’s what they did.”
The Lightning are looking for much of the same in Game 3. They took advantage of the power-play early in Game 2, which helped them gain an early lead.
The Stars aren’t a team that wants to battle from behind. Forcing Dallas into that position is precisely what Tampa Bay needs to continue to do.
Stars Have to Stay Out of the Box
The Stars can hang with the Lightning in 5-on-5 play, but they have to stay out of the penalty box. Allowing Tampa Bay to gain a lead due to the power-play is a death sentence for this team.
Goaltender Anton Khudobin has allowed a total of four 5-on-5 goals in Dallas’ last five games. The more time Dallas plays with five skaters, the better chance they have of pulling the upset.
Dallas will be on the lookout for the return of Steven Stamkos. He has missed the whole postseason so far but could make a return in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Even while being one of the best players on the ice, his conditioning isn’t going to be where it needs to be. Dallas will need to take advantage of that when he is on the ice.
The Stars had an injury of their own with Blake Comeau. They can’t afford to go down a player that has such a significant impact on the penalty kill.
The Lightning are favored to win with odds at -157. The underdog Stars have odds of +135.
I like the Stars to hang in there and have a clutch defensive game. If they keep this game close, I believe they will end up pulling out the win and take a series lead.
Take the Stars in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Good luck!