-- by Danny the Geek
The Tampa Bay Lightning and Dallas Stars will face off in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Friday night.
With Tampa Bay now leading the series 2-1, Dallas will need to make sure that they bring their best for this one. The pressure is on.
In the last game between these two teams, Tampa Bay beat Dallas by a 5-2 margin. Perhaps most noticeable was the return of Stephen Stamkos. He scored a goal in his return to action, and he made his presence known for Tampa Bay the rest of the game.
For Dallas, they were able to get two goals, one from Jason Dickinson and another one from Miro Heiskanen. Nevertheless, it was not enough for Dallas, as Tampa Bay is now in the driver’s seat with that win.
Dallas needs to convert on power play.
For the stars, they need to do a better job of converting on their power play. In four opportunities on Tuesday, they scored zero goals. When you are facing a team like the Tampa Bay Lightning, they are strong at even strength. When Tampa Bay makes a mistake and has to go to the penalty box, you have to take advantage of that. Whenever Tampa Bay has a man down, the Dallas stars need to covert.
Tampa Bay needs to continue to get in front of shots.
We have heard all about the scoring, and what they can bring offensively. However, they need to continue to be solid defensively. They had 12 blocked shots in Game Two and protected Andrei Vasilevskiy. Throughout the playoffs, they have done a nice job of getting in front of the net and blocking shots. Now, they need to continue that if they want to stop the Dallas attack.
Sizing up the goalies.
Andrei Vasilevskiy looks to continue his stellar play. He has not allowed more than two goals since September 17 against the New York Islanders. He has become a key player for Tampa Bay this postseason.
Anton Khudobin looks to looks to bounce back on Friday. After losing two games in a row, he needs to right the ship. He is a capable goaltender, but in a situation like this, he will need his defense to step up for him.
For this game, I would feel comfortable taking Tampa Bay on the spread -1.5 at 2.68. I see them being able to take a commanding lead in a similar performance to last Tuesday.