2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Lightning vs. Stars odds, picks & predictions for Game 4
The Tampa Bay Lightning appear to have regained their mojo, and that could be bad news for the Dallas Stars as these teams clash in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on Friday night.
After losing the series opener, the Lightning have rattled off two straight wins to take a series lead, and they can put themselves one victory away from capturing the franchise’s first Stanley Cup since 2004 with a win tonight. All the more impressive is they have made it this far without their leader and face of the franchise, Steven Stamkos, for the vast majority of these playoffs.
Here are the bets we like for tonight’s game.
Sat, September 26 2020, 12:00 AM
Tampa Bay Lightning
Puck Line full time
The Lightning have started to take a territorial edge in this series, and the results are indicative of that.
They have held a distinct advantage in shot attempts at all strengths, with a 55% Corsi For rating, according to Natural Stat Trick, and have gotten more shots on goal through to Stars goalie Anton Khudobin than the Stars have on Andrei Vasilevskiy for Tampa.
With this series at a crossroads, the Stars simply have to find another gear, and it starts with their best players. Jamie Benn doesn’t have a point in this series. Tyler Seguin hasn’t scored since Game 3 of the second round. Alexander Radulov has posted three assists in this series, but was held to one shot on goal in Game 3 on Wednesday.
At some point, your best players have to produce like your best players, and the Stars just haven’t gotten that yet. If the Lightning are able to shut down the Stars’ top offensive players and continue to maintain a territorial advantage, their own top-end skill and depth should be successful.
The Lightning provide an update on Steven Stamkos later today, including if he’ll play or not. He returned to the lineup Wednesday – his first game action since February – and scored before quickly leaving the contest after just 2:47 of ice time.
Even if he’s unable to play, the Lightning’s performance in the last two games coupled with the fact they’ve made it this far without Stamkos should make bettors feel confident in a Tampa Bay win. There is more value in taking the Lightning on the puck line at -1.5 if you feel they can win by two goals or more.
Nikita Kucherov total shots on goal
Nikita Kucherov loves to shoot the puck. He has fired 13 shots on Anton Khudobin in three games of this series, and could be relied on even more as a shooter in Game 4 if Stamkos is unable to play.
The Stars will no doubt try to limit Kucherov’s opportunities, taking away time and space for him to operate, but the Lightning will also make their adjustments in getting one of their prolific scorers into prime positions to get pucks through to the net. There should be even more desperation from Kucherov to shoot, shoot, and shoot some more given Tampa is two wins away from locking up a championship.
The total is set at 3.5 shots on goal. It’s a little risky. Kucherov is averaging a shade under four shots on goal per game in these playoffs, but I expect him to be put in position to shoot the puck as often as he can tonight.