NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Vegas Golden Knights

Since the official start of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Dallas Stars have suffered back-to-back losses just once. On that occasion, they dropped Games 5 and 6 of their Western Conference second-round series against Colorado before winning the deciding contest in overtime. The Stars look to avoid the situation on Wednesday, when they meet the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 3 of the 2020 Stanley Cup Final. Opening face-off from Rogers Place in Edmonton is set for 8 p.m. ET.

After winning the final three games of the conference final to oust top-seeded Vegas in five, Dallas used the extended period of rest to its advantage and upset Tampa Bay in the opener of the Stanley Cup Final. The Lightning, however, scored three goals in a span of 3:53 in the first period of Game 2 and avoided losing back-to-back contests for the first time this postseason by holding on for a 3-2 victory that evened the series. Tampa Bay is the -160 favorite in the latest Lightning vs. Stars odds from William Hill, while the over-under for total goals scored is five. Before making any Stars vs. Lightning picks, check out the NHL predictions from the SportsLine Projection Model.

This model simulates every NHL game 10,000 times, taking into account factors like current form, individual matchups, injuries and short- and long-term trends when making NHL picks. The model seeks the best values on the money line, puck line and total.

Now, the model has set its sights on Lightning vs. Stars. You can visit SportsLine now to see the picks. Here are the NHL odds from William Hill and trends for Stars vs. Lightning: 

  • Lightning vs. Stars money line: Tampa Bay -160, Dallas +140
  • Lightning vs. Stars puck line: Tampa Bay -1.5
  • Lightning vs. Stars over-under: 5 goals
  • TB: The Lightning are 1-4 in their last five Stanley Cup Final games
  • DAL: The Stars are 6-1 in their last seven games after scoring fewer than three goals in their previous contest

Why you should back the Lightning

Nikita Kucherov leads the NHL in scoring this postseason with a franchise-record 28 points after notching a pair of assists in Monday's 3-2 victory. It was the 25th career multi-point playoff performance by the 27-year-old Russian, moving him past Martin St. Louis for first place on the Lightning's all-time list. Kucherov is two points ahead of teammate Brayden Point, who shares the league lead with 10 postseason goals after opening the scoring in Game 2.

The 24-year-old Point, who had been kept off the scoresheet in back-to-back games for the first time this postseason before scoring on Monday, is three tallies away from matching the franchise mark for a single postseason set in 2015 by Tyler Johnson. The center has done most of his damage at even strength, scoring eight of his goals in that situation. Ondrej Palat, who also tallied in Game 2, and defenseman Victor Hedman are right behind Point with nine goals apiece this postseason.

Why you should back the Stars

Dallas has several players that enter Game 3 with point streaks, as Alexander Radulov is in the midst of a five-game run while defenseman John Klingberg has notched assists in four straight contests. The 34-year-old Radulov has scored one goal and set up five others during his streak as he is tied with rookie Denis Gurianov for fourth on the team with 17 points. Like Radulov, Klingberg assisted on both goals in the Stars' loss on Monday to give him six assists during his run.

Joe Pavelski has been making the most of what could be his final chance to get his name engraved on the Stanley Cup. The 36-year-old, who signed with Dallas in July 2019 after spending the first 13 seasons of his NHL career with San Jose, is tied for the league lead with 10 goals this postseason after converting a power-play opportunity in Game 2. Pavelski is the first member of the Stars to reach double digits in goals in one playoff year since Brett Hull (11) and Mike Modano (10) accomplished the feat during the team's run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2000.

How to make Lightning vs. Stars picks

SportsLine's model is leaning over on the total with the simulations giving Kucherov and Gurianov the best chance to score a goal for their respective sides. It also says one side of the money line has all the value. You can only get the pick at SportsLine.

So who wins Stars vs. Lightning? And which side of the money line has all the value? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Lightning vs. Stars money line to jump on, all from the advanced model that has simulated this matchup 10,000 times, and find out.