NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Lightning vs. Stars (April 12)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Andrei Vasilevskiy and Mikhail Sergachev.
Lightning vs. Stars Odds
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Dallas will look to build on its strong home record Tuesday against the Lightning in a 2020 Stanley Cup Finals rematch. The Stars have posted a strong record down the stretch and enter this contest with a 85.1% chance (per MoneyPuck) of reaching the playoffs.
Tampa has shown more of the defensive prowess we have come to expect over its last two outings, having allowed just a single goal in regulation. Will the Lightning keep the Stars in check Tuesday?
Lightning Defense Bouncing Back
Tampa put together a very shaky first period Wednesday in Washington, allowing three goals and a wealth ofquality opportunities, having allowed a lot of goals of late leading up to that point.
That first period was taken as somewhat of a breaking point for a group that can lockdown nearly all competition. In the following 160 minutes of regulation play since, the Bolts have allowed just two goals, with one coming shorthanded.
Even then, the Lightning still hold a sixth-best 2.69 xGA/60 rating at all strengths over the last 10 games, so they likely did run into some less than great luck to allow several higher totals.
Defensive stalwart Ryan McDonagh made a strong return to the lineup Sunday as well, playing 19:09 with an assist. McDonaugh has been one of the more underrated pieces of the Bolts' back-to-back cup wins and is still one of the league's better defensemen.
With the Lightning's next contest Thursday against Anaheim, expect to see Andrei Vasilevskiy get this start, but he will likely rest frequently during these final contests.
Vasilevskiy has followed up last year's Conn Smythe win with a strong season, posting a +23.0 Goals Saved Above Expected rating with a .917 Save % in 56 games played.
Stars Winning Close Games Recently
Dallas has scored just 2.88 goals for per game over the last 10 contests but has still managed a 6-3-1 record thanks in part to a 4-0-1 record in one-goal games.
The Dallas offense has continued to revolve around the top trio of Jason Robertson, Joe Pavelski, and Roope Hintz, who dominated Chicago last time out.
The Stars have generated a solid 13th-best Expected Goals For per 60 rate of 2.89 over those 10 games, but it is also worth noting that sample has come against a far easier than average slate of clubs defensively.
The Stars have not been as dominant defensively this season as we have come to expect throughout coach Rick Bowness' tenure. They rank in the middle of the pack, ranking 17th with 2.99 Goals Against per game this season.
Jake Oettinger has been very steady in goal for the Stars this season and will most likely start here. Oettinger holds a +2.2 GSAx rating with a .914 Save % in 42 games played.
Lightning vs. Stars Pick
Down the stretch, the Lightning should continue to tighten things up, and consequently, combined goal totals should drop in their games after competing in a surprising amount of high scoring games throughout March.
The Stars are still a fairly one dimensional team offensively, although they have a ridiculously strong top trio carrying a ton of the weight. They have played to a game total average of 6.11 over the last 10, and playing against a strong defensive club in the Bolts, I don't see that average rising Tuesday.
We know Tampa Bay is capable of playing a very sound defensive game, and I believe we will see them able to keep Dallas attack at bay here.
The Stars are right in the thick of the Wild Card race and are a reasonably strong defensive club themselves. I don't imagine this is one where the Lightning come out and put together a big offensive total.
This should be a tightly contested affair, and considering the spot and time of year, there's value in taking this game to stay under 6.5 goals at -120. I imagine that opening number will become 6 most places by game-time tomorrow and confidently feel that getting this total at a number of 6.5 this play holds value.
Pick: Under 6.5 -120, Play 6.5 to -140