It’s lastly proper right here.
After a truncated widespread season and a better than the four-month gap between vital video video games, the fruits of the 2019-20 NHL season has arrived.
Two teams that many pundits had of their preseason predictions — the Western Conference’s Dallas Stars and the Eastern Conference’s Tampa Bay Lightning — will now battle it out.
The Stars superior to their first Stanley Cup look since 2000 on Monday after an extra time win in Game 5, knocking out the Golden Knights. On the flip facet, the Lightning has firmly wiped away the ultimate yr’s disappointment and might now get in the end off after their further time win over the Islanders sooner than hitting the ice throughout the franchise’s second journey to the Final to this point decade (they misplaced in 2015 to the Blackhawks).
For Tampa Bay’s Pat Maroon, it is a chance to win his second consecutive Stanley Cup, as he captured the 2019 title with the St. Louis Blues, whereas teammate Luke Schenn can match his brother Brayden who gained with Maroon last yr. On the flip facet, all eyes will most likely be on 65-year-old long-time bench guru and Stars interim head coach Rick Bowness, who was on Jon Cooper’s staff once more in 2015 and can most likely be aiming for his first type from Lord Stanley’s Cup in his third remaining.
By the tip of September, the NHL’s newest champion will most likely be topped. Be sure to soak all of it in, hockey followers, on account of the start of the 2020-21 season is formally TBD.
Tampa Bay Lightning (-152) vs. Dallas Stars (+137): Schedule, breakdown, prediction
|1||Sat., Sept. 19||7:30 p.m.||NBC, fuboTV , SN, CBC, TVAS|
|2||Mon., Sept. 21||8 p.m.||NBCSN, fuboTV , SN, CBC, TVAS|
|3||Wed., Sept. 23||8 p.m.||NBCSN, fuboTV , SN, CBC, TVAS|
|4||Fri., Sept. 25||8 p.m.||NBC, fuboTV , SN, CBC, TVAS|
|5*||Sat., Sept. 26||8 p.m.||NBC, fuboTV , SN, CBC, TVAS|
|6*||Mon., Sept. 28||8 p.m.||NBC, fuboTV , SN, CBC, TVAS|
|7*||Wed., Sept. 30||8 p.m.||NBC, fuboTV , SN, CBC, TVAS|
Regular season assortment
Let’s be reliable, the 2019-20 widespread season was a lifetime up to now nevertheless the reality that the Stars gained in a sweep is bulletin board supplies for every squad.
The Jan. 27 contest seen at current “unfit to play” Stars netminder Ben Bishop in net and injured Lightning captain Steven Stamkos pot two targets. The present No. 1 stylish for the Stars, Anton Khudobin, earned the victory throughout the first meeting whereas Tampa’s Andrei Vasilevskiy was handed the L’s in every online game.
Dallas holds a basic report of 25-15-4 in opposition to Tampa Bay all through the widespread season, nevertheless, that’s the Stanley Cup Final and historic previous is cleaned.
|Dec. 19||Stars||Lightning||DAL, 4-3 (OT)|
|Jan. 27||Lightning||Stars||DAL, 3-2 (OT)|
Welp, the Stars aren’t the analytic darlings of this Stanley Cup Final, that’s for sure. They enter the gathering as the first group due to the 1968 St. Louis Blues with a harmful goal differential (62 targets for, 64 targets in opposition to throughout the bubble). They moreover had 48 fewer footage than Vegas throughout the five-game assortment (118-166), keep certainly one of many worst Corsi For percentages (16th, 47.96), Fenwick For percentages (15th, 48.41), and have allowed additional High-Density Chances For (169) than in opposition to (173) at 5v5 among the many many 24 teams that entered the bubble (per Natural Stat Trick).
Maybe Tyler Seguin’s response, when requested about his group’s success whatever the numbers, was proper: “It says analytics are overrated.”
Or maybe, it merely means the Stars have found a technique to win. They utilized depth scoring — have you ever ever met Joel Kiviranta however? — from their forward group and have two defensemen throughout the excessive 5 on the elements itemizing (Miro Heiskanen, 22 elements; John Klingberg, 16 elements). Captain Jamie Benn has moreover come alive to this point just a few video video games and is driving a three-game goal-scoring streak.
As for the Lightning, they’re an offensive juggernaut, with the likes of scoring chief Nikita Kucherov (26 elements), Brayden Point (if he’s healthful), Victor Hedman, and Ondrej Palat — and are dominating no matter captain Steven Stamos not healthful enough to go nicely with up for a single sport.
The Lightning has scored practically an goal better than they’ve allowed (3.11 GF/GP to 2.21 GA/GP) throughout the postseason — a carryover from the widespread season once they scored an NHL-best 243 targets and 3.47 GF/GP. They have a 55.59 % CF%, an Expected Goals For the share of 57.30, and a bubble-best 29 HDGF. Basically, like Game 6’s further time winner, don’t let the Lightning in shut.
The Dallas Stars are ultimately getting the job accomplished defensively whatever the harmful goal differential — and it could not help that they’re a strong 10-1 in one-goal video video games throughout the postseason.
“You’re looking at shots against, we’re more concerned about the chance against,” acknowledged Bowness after his group eradicated the Golden Knights. “Five on five, we were fine the whole series [against Vegas]. I know they took a lot of outside shots, we’ll give them that.”
In their third spherical, the Stars had the easiest save share (95.58) and SCSV% (90.38) of the 4 teams throughout the conference finals (primarily based on Natural Stat Trick). A giant a part of the Stars’ defensive prowess is goaltender Anton Khudobin, who has been masterful on the internet.
As for Tampa Bay, they’ve their very personal excessive goalie on the internet in 2019 Vezina Trophy winner and 2020 Vezina Trophy finalist Andrei Vasilevskiy. And the fellows in entrance of him defending the online aren’t too shabby each. Headlined by 2020 Norris Trophy finalist Victor Hedman, the depth chart incorporates Kevin Shattenkirk, Zach Bogosian, and Ryan McDonagh on the blue line along with centerman Anthony Cirelli, who should have been a Selke Trophy finalist in 2020.
What can you say about Khudobin? He posted an NHL-best .930 save share all through the widespread season and with No. 1 goalie Ben Bishop out — Bishop, by the easiest way, backstopped the Lightning to their 2015 run to the final word — he has been a soothing stress in between the pipes. He has a .920 save share in 19 video video games (18 begins) in distinction with Vasilevskiy’s .931 in 19 video video games. Against Vegas’ high-powered offense, he posted a .950 save share after which had this implausible factor a couple of response as soon as they despatched the Golden Knights packing:
At 5v5 every their save percentages rise, to .941 for the Lightning’s netminder and .928 for the Stars (per Natural Stat Trick). The one eye-popping amount is GSAA, the place Vasilevskiy’s at 6.64, and Khudobin’s at 0.77; nonetheless, when it’s about high-danger targets it’s all about Khudobin. He’s obtained a 4.63 HDGSAA in distinction collectively together with his counterpart’s 0.46.
Both guys have been to a remaining sooner than — although Khudobin did it as a backup in 2013 for the Bruins’ Tuukka Rask and Vasilevskiy backed up Bishop.
The Lightning’s vitality play has struggled throughout the bubble, dropping from 23.1 % throughout the widespread season to 17.9; they did elevate it barely to 19.1 in opposition to the Islanders as they scored 4 power-play targets in 21 options. However, the struggles with the particular person profit might have worth them the gathering considering they’d four-minute vitality performs throughout the waning seconds of the third interval and into further time in Games 5 and 6 and did not fee. Luckily for Tampa Bay, it solely misplaced a sort of contest.
Across the easiest way, the Stars have elevated their time on the particular person profit from 21.1 to 27.3. Benn and Radek Faksa (who has been unfit to play after missing the earlier two video video games of the Western Conference finals) lead the group with three power-play targets each.
The two teams are pretty even on the penalty kill, as Dallas has been environment friendly 83.3 % of the time with Tampa Bay environment friendly 83.6 % of the time.
Key players to have a look at
Joe Pavelski (DAL): The veteran forward principally strapped the San Jose Sharks to his once more last season and led them to the Western Conference finals — and don’t rely on one thing a lot much less proper right here. At 36, Pavelski is conscious of his time is dwindling. And he has been stress for Bowness, foremost the group with rookie Denis Gurianov in targets with 9 (he solely had 14 in 67 widespread season video video games).
Steven Stamkos (TBL): Sure, there are not any ensures that the Lightning’s captain even laces ’em up for a sport, however when he does, it’ll change the whole complexion of the final word. He’s been skating at Tampa’s practices and was on the ice (sans skates) for the group’s celebration with the Prince of Wales Trophy. Having Stamkos once more throughout the lineup would not solely ship an emotional elevate to his group, nevertheless, he’ll moreover ship alongside his 66 elements in 57 video video games from the widespread season. And remember the fact that struggling vitality play for the Lightning? Stamkos led the group in power-play targets with 10.
Lightning vs. Stars playoff historic previous
This is the first-ever meeting between the 2 franchises throughout the postseason.
Past 5 playoff appearances
Tampa Bay Lightning
|2019||Lost in first spherical to CBJ in 4 video video games|
|2018||Lost in conference finals to WSH in seven video video games|
|2016||Lost in conference finals to PIT in seven video video games|
|2015||Lost in Stanley Cup Final to CHI in six video video games|
|2014||Lost in first spherical to MTL in 4 video video games|
|2019||Lost in second spherical to STL in seven video video games|
|2016||Lost in second spherical to STL in seven video video games|
|2014||Lost in first spherical to ANA in six video video games|
|2008||Lost in conference finals to DET in six video video games|
|2007||Lost in conference quarterfinals to VAN in seven video video games|
Lightning vs. Stars prediction
Almost a yr up to now — when this season was in its infancy — all people was contemplating that Jon Cooper was on his means out of Tampa as a result of the group was participating in mediocre hockey. Instead, the Lightning picked points up and have been stress throughout the bubble. While all people want to see Rick Bowness lastly get his Cup, his outdated bench boss is standing in his means.
This assortment will most likely be a battle not solely on the ice nevertheless behind the benches.
Prediction: Lightning in six