After a 3-2 victory in Game 3, the Tampa Bay Lightning are in the driver's seat of the 2020 Stanley Cup Final with a 2-1 series lead. The Lightning will take on the Dallas Stars in Game 4 on Friday evening, with Dallas in desperate need of a win to even the series. The teams must also consider odd circumstances, with Game 5 scheduled just 24 hours later on Saturday evening. Lightning center Steven Stamkos made his playoff debut in Game 3 as he's working his way back from a core injury. He scored in his 2:47 of ice time, however Tampa Bay has deemed him unfit to play on Friday.
Rogers Place in Edmonton will host this 8 p.m. ET puck drop. William Hill lists Tampa Bay as the -160 favorite on the money line in the latest Lightning vs. Stars odds, unchanged from the opener. The over-under for expected goals is set at 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.
- 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 10-3 in their last 13 postseason games
- DAL: The Stars are 6-3 in their last nine postseason games
Why you should back the Lightning
The Lightning have been the best team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with a 16-6 overall record and the second-best goal differential, outscoring opponents by 0.82 goals per game, in the postseason. Offensively, Tampa Bay is dynamic, with star power all over the ice, and the Lightning led the NHL with 3.47 goals per game during the regular season.
The Lightning have also been elite defensively in the playoffs, however, giving up only 2.27 goals per game, and Tampa Bay has allowed two goals or fewer in 13 of their 19 playoff clashes. Some of that success can be tied to goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, who boasts a 1.89 goals against average in the 2020 playoffs while leading the NHL in minutes in goal at 1,493.
Why you should back the Stars
The Stars also have some advantages, headlined by a strong goalie in Anton Khudobin. The 34-year-old has struggled in the last two games, including being pulled before the end of Game 3, but Khudobin was a star prior to that hiccup. In the first 19 games of the postseason, he allowed only 2.54 goals per game and held a .923 save percentage, keying the Stars in a Game 1 win to take the lead in the series.
Elsewhere, Miro Heiskanen is one of the most productive players in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, landing fourth among all players in points and second in assists. Dallas boasts a balanced offense overall, with Joe Pavelski, Denis Gurianov, Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov each scoring eight goals or more in the playoffs.
How to make Lightning vs. Stars picks
SportsLine's model is leaning over on the total with the simulations giving Nikita 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.