The Tampa Bay Lightning have taken a 2-1 series lead over the Dallas Stars and are sizable favorites to win Game 4. Photo by @ESPNStatsInfo (Twitter).
- Up 2-1 in the best-of-seven series, Tampa Bay is a -175 favorite for Game 4 on Friday, September 25
- Steven Stamkos returned for the Lightning in the Bolts’ Game 3 victory
- There’s no guarantee the Bolts’ captain plays in Game 4
The Tampa Bay Lightning could win the Stanley Cup this weekend. The Bolts have a 2-1 series lead heading into a back-to-back beginning with Game 4 on Friday, Sept. 25 at 8:00 PM ET. Tampa Bay has opened as -175 favorites in the Lightning vs Stars odds.
Lightning vs Stars Game 4 Odds
|Tampa Bay Lightning||-175||-1.5 (+155)||O 5 (-137)|
|Dallas Stars||+148||+1.5 (-190)||U 5 (+114)|
Odds taken Sep. 23 at DraftKings.
Stamkos Returns in Bolts Game 3 Win
Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos made his much-anticipated return to the lineup in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final. He had been out since February due to injury. Stamkos scored on his first shot in the first period, and his emotional return helped propel the Lightning to a dominant 5-2 victory.
While Stamkos scoring was a great story, the sniper may not see the ice for the rest of the series. He only had 2:47 of ice time in the game and was clearly battling through pain when television broadcast cameras focused on him on the bench.
Luckily for the Lightning, they have the offense to win the Cup even if Stamkos doesn’t play again. Nikita Kucherov became the first 30-point-getter this postseason with a goal and an assist in the Game 3 victory, while his linemates, Ondrej Palat and Brayden Point, also had multi-point nights.
Hedman Putting Together Conn-Smythe Worthy Campaign
It’s hard to bet against this Tampa Bay team when you look at what Victor Hedman is doing on the blueline. The 2018 Norris Trophy-winner has been an absolute force at both ends of the ice, recording 10 goals, nine assists, 148 shots attempts, and a plus-17 rating since the start of Round 1.
Double digital goals for Hedman this postseason! #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/ZExPqx7qfw
— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) September 24, 2020
Hedman has only been on the ice for six even-strength goals against this entire postseason, which is especially impressive when you consider he’s averaging almost 28 minutes of ice time every game. The Stars only had 24 shots and six high-danger chances in Game 3, meaning the Bolts are doing a great job keeping them to the outside.
One of the major reasons the Lightning are winning this series is because their top forwards have showed up. You can’t say the same for the Stars. Jamie Benn, Alex Radulov, and Tyler Seguin are all without a goal this series, which isn’t going to cut it against a team as talented as the Lightning.
Betting Advice for Game 4
The Lightning have plenty of momentum and inspiration after a commanding win in Game 3. There aren’t many positives for Dallas to take from the loss. It’s most concerning for Stars bettors that goaltender Anton Khudobin was pulled at the end of the second period after allowing five goals on 29 shots.
To follow up on this. It’s not Khudobin’s fault this is 4-1. But when you consider back-to-back in Game 4 and 5 and how much Bishop wants to play and how Bowness trusts him, this result is going to make it easier for them to play Bishop in Game 4. https://t.co/AIB2ppt9Jo
— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) September 24, 2020
The Bolts have now torched Khudobin for eight goals over his last two games, which could do a major blow to his confidence. As great as “Dobby” was against Vegas, it’s important to remember he got lit up by a dangerous Colorado offense in the second round. Led by Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen, the Avs scored at least four goals in three of their games against Khudobin. We’re seeing some similarities with this Lightning offense, led by Point and Kucherov.
Even if the Stars turn to Ben Bishop, the Bolts are the play for Game 4. Bishop has given up four goals in each of his three starts this postseason and could be very rusty. Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy has been rock-solid and has allowed only four goals in his last two starts. His steady play and Tampa’s dynamic offense is reason to continue backing the Bolts in this series.
Pick: Tampa Bay Lightning moneyline (-175)
Brady is a passionate hockey fan and sports writer with over five years experience specializing in digital media, plus a degree in Broadcast Journalism. His work has been published by outlets such as ESPN, CBS Sports, Yahoo! Sports and Fox Sports.