Friday, September 25, 2020, Rogers Place, Edmonton, Alberta, 8 p.m. ET
Lightning at Stars Betting Preview: Lightning (-175), Stars (+148)
Tampa Bay Lightning
The Lightning look to ride the emotional lift of the all-too-brief return of captain Steven Stamkos into Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. Stamkos, having recovered from a lower-body injury and playing in his first game since Feb. 25, scored on his first shot of the 2020 postseason to propel Tampa Bay to a 5-2 victory in Game 3 on Wednesday. Stamkos’ availability for Friday is unknown.
The inspired Lightning reside two wins shy of their second Stanley Cup title in franchise history (2004). Tampa Bay holds an all-time record of 10-3 when holding a 2-1 advantage in a best-of-seven series.
Victor Hedman highlighted his three-point performance by netting his 10th goal of the postseason in Game 3. Only Hall of Famers Paul Coffey (12, 1985) and Brian Leetch (11, 1994) scoring more among defensemen in one playoff year. Former Hart Trophy recipient Nikita Kucherov recorded his second straight two-point performance by scoring and setting up a goal Wednesday to boost his NHL-leading playoff totals in assists (23) and points (30).
The Stars aim to rebound after losing consecutive contests for the first time since falling to Colorado in Games 5 and 6 of the Western Conference semifinals. Dallas would be wise to play with more discipline, as the club wound up short-handed four times in Game 3and surrendered one power-play goal.
The Stars are struggling to find offense from their top-tier forwards, with Tyler Seguin having just an assist for his lone point in his past 12 games. Alexander Radulov was whistled for two bad penalties before exiting the game midway into the third period after crashing shoulder-first into the end boards.
Anton Khudobin was pulled for the second time this postseason after yielding five goals on 29 shots through two periods. The 34-year-old responded from his early exit versus Vegas in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals by allowing just six goals over his next four starts — all wins.
Lightning at Stars Betting Pick for Game 4
Dallas defenseman Miro Heiskanen is enjoying sizzling postseason, but he endured an unfortunate moment on Wednesday after he lost his edge and fell to the ice to send Kucherov in on a breakaway. Tampa Bay’s star forward made no mistake and scored the opening goal.
The early advantage has paid dividends for the Lightning, who are a sterling 11-1 when scoring the first goal of the postseason. The Stars already are back on their heels, and another slow start on Friday would push them to the brink of elimination.
Lightning at Stars Betting Pick:
Lightning 4, Stars 2
Lightning at Stars Best Bet for Game 4
Tampa Bay’s Brayden Point converted a three-on-one rush to record his NHL-leading 11th goal of the postseason and second in as many games Wednesday. Teammates Ondrej Palat, who also has scored in back-to-back contests, and Kucherov joined Point in scoring and setting up a goal in Game 3. The Lightning’s top-tier players look to have found their mojo, and that often spells a busy night for the scoreboard operator.
Lightning at Stars Best Bet: OVER 5 total goals (-137)
–Field Level Media