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Lightning Favored Again as Teams Bid for 2-1 Lead in Stanley Cup Final

Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning gives the puck to linesman Derek Amell during a break in Game 2 of the NHL Stanley Cup Final between the Dallas Stars and the Lightning at Rogers Place on September 21, 2020. in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

A pivotal Game 3 of the 2019-20 Stanley Cup Final will happen Wednesday when the Lightning battle the Stars as solid favorites for the third straight time after they earned a 3-2 victory in Game 2 on Monday to even up the series.

Tampa Bay Lightning vs Dallas Stars
  • Date/Time: September 23, 8 p.m. ET
  • Arena: Rogers Place
  • TV Coverage: NBCSN
  • Opening Odds: Lightning -148 | O/U 5 (Line History)
  • Lightning vs Stars Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

Tampa Bay got back on track in Game 2, ending a four-game winning streak for Dallas. The Lightning still have not lost consecutive games since March 10, but they nearly saw the Stars battle back and tie things up after going down 3-0 in the first period. Bettors got a glimpse of how dangerous Tampa Bay can be, although this team still has not played its best game of the Stanley Cup Final.

Early money has come in on the Lightning, with their backers likely believing Game 3 promises a better performance that would put their opponent behind in a series for the first time since trailing the Calgary Flames 2-1 in the first round. Dallas rallied to win that series, obviously, so the underdog will be confident as well.

Tampa Bay News & Notes

The scariest part of Tampa Bay’s play is how quickly the Bolts can strike and how often. But it also looked like the Lightning took their foot off the gas a bit following the first period, allowing the Stars to come back and make a game of it. Credit Dallas for hanging in there, but Tampa Bay still earned a very important victory and can play even better in Game 3.

The Lightning did see some important droughts end offensively, as Brayden Point scored his first goal in three games, which is significant since he has been ailing recently. Point tallied his goal on the power play to break the ice, then Ondrej Palat followed with his first in four games on the power play as well.

Veteran defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk rounded out the scoring with his first goal since the first round, and the team is still hoping to get captain Steven Stamkos back after he participated in the morning skate before Game 2.

Dallas News & Notes

The Stars may have fallen behind quickly in the first period, but they showed some heart and resilience in coming back to cut the deficit to one goal. They never give up, and this looked like it could have been a repeat of Game 5 of the Western Conference final against the Vegas Golden Knights a little over a week ago when they trailed 2-0, forced overtime and won it to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

Dallas just could not get the equalizer this time around, and goaltender Anton Khudobin kept his team in the game after giving up the first three goals early on. Khudobin knows he needs to play better, as he has lost four of the last five times he has surrendered three goals or more.

The exception was a 5-4 overtime victory in Game 7 of the second round vs the Colorado Avalanche. Khudobin faced 44 shots in that game, though, and again kept his team in it.

Betting Pick: UNDER 5

The total for the first two games landed right on the number of 5, and goals were hard to come by for good chunks of time in both games. Both Khudobin and Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy have the ability to play lights-out between the pipes, and this could be the turning point of the series. Look for the goalies to put on a show here and help keep Game 3 a low-scoring affair that falls UNDER the total after two pushes.

Shark Bites
  • The UNDER is 4-0-3 in the Stars’ last 7 games.
  • The Lightning are 11-3 in their last 14 games as favorites.
  • The Stars are 6-2 in their last 8 games, all as underdogs.