Wednesday, September 23, 2020, Rogers Place, Edmonton, Alberta, 8 p.m. ET
Lightning at Stars Betting Preview: Lightning (-157), Stars (+135)
Tampa Bay Lightning
The Lightning look for another fast start in Game 3 on Wednesday in a bid to take a series lead in the Stanley Cup Final. Tampa Bay opened the scoring for the first time in seven contests when its quick-strike offense tallied three times in a span of 3:53 in the first period en route to a 3-2 victory.
Two of the Lightning’s three goals were scored on the power play, a welcome sight considering the team mustered just 24 shots while failing on its previous 15 opportunities with the man advantage. The early advantage — Tampa Bay’s first since scoring the opening goal in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals versus the New York Islanders — helped take Dallas out of its vaunted defensive-style game.
Hart Trophy recipient Nikita Kucherov set up a pair of goals to record his seventh multi-point performance of this postseason and 25th in his playoff career to surpass Hockey Hall of Famer Martin St. Louis (24) for the franchise record. Kucherov’s 28 points are two more than Brad Richards for the most in one single playoff year in franchise history, passing Brad Richards’ total of 26 set in the Lightning’s run to the Stanley Cup title in 2004.
Joe Pavelski is showing no signs of slowing down as the veteran scored for the club-best 10th time to reside one shy of Hall of Famer Maurice Richard’s total for goals in a playoff year at age 36 or older, set in 1958. Pavelski’s 58 goals are tied with franchise icon Mike Modano for the second-most among U.S.-born players, trailing only Joe Mullen (60).
John Klingberg set up a pair of goals to boost his assist total to six in his last four games and overall point total to 19, four shy of fellow defenseman Miro Heiskanen for the team lead. The Stars’ blueliners have collected 60 points, tied for seventh-most in NHL history for a single postseason.
Anton Khudobin rebounded from a shaky start to turn aside 28 of 31 shots, although the three goals allowed marked his most since Game 2 of the Western Conference finals versus Vegas. Khudobin, 34, answered that contest by making 38 saves in a 3-2 overtime win to help Dallas take control of that series.
Stars at Lightning Betting Pick for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup
Tampa Bay is following the script of its previous two Stanley Cup Final appearances, as it answered a Game 1 loss with a Game 2 victory. The Lightning, however, received two different results in Game 3, getting shut out in the 2004 series versus Calgary while posting a 3-2 win over Chicago in 2015.
Defenseman Victor Hedman set up a pair of goals in that contest versus the Blackhawks and is coming off a two-assist performance in Game 2 on Monday. Look for Hedman to continue his stellar postseason and help the Lightning take the series lead on Wednesday.
Lightning at Stars Betting Pick:
Lightning 3, Stars 1
Stars at Lightning Best Bet
Andrei Vasilevskiy made 27 saves on Monday to improve to 6-0 in games following a loss in the postseason. The former Vezina Trophy recipient’s unbeaten record in that regard is just one shy of former Lightning netminder Nikolai Khabibulin’s mark, set in 2004.
Vasilevskiy will follow up that strong performance with another one, while Khudobin will return to his form in this postseason to make it a tight affair in Game 3.
Stars at Lightning Best Bet: UNDER 5 total goals (+132)
–Field Level Media