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Dallas Stars at Tampa Bay Lightning preview: This team needs to dig deeper

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We need a better showing from the Bolts tonight.

2020 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game One Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Dallas Stars at Tampa Bay Lightning: ROUND 4, GAME 1

Time: 7:30 pm Eastern Time

Location: Rogers Place

Broadcast/Streaming: NBC, SN, TVA-S, CBC

Opponent SBNation Site: Defending Big D

Preview:

The Lightning were a tired team on Saturday night, and it showed right out of the gate. They were sluggish to pucks, sometimes at a standstill defending in their own end, made poor decisions when they did have the puck, and handed the Stars a 4-1 victory in Game 1. In fact, it was fairly reminiscent of Game 1 against the Boston Bruins in the second round, which the Lightning also lost before winning four straight and the series.

If the Bolts continue to play the way they did on Saturday, they don’t have a chance of winning this series. Although they did get better as the game progressed, it wasn’t enough, as Anton Khudobin shut the door the rest of the way. They need to have a better start tonight, and it would be great if they could score first — they’ve allowed the opening goal for the last six playoff games.

Stars head coach Rick Bowness expects his team to face Steven Stamkos at some point in this series, but Jon Cooper isn’t so sure. He wasn’t confident the sniper would be ready to play tonight, but that Stamkos is ‘inching closer’ to a return. Regardless of his availability, the Lightning’s lineup is capable of beating the Stars, and it’s something that they need to prove tonight.

Unnecessary penalties reared their ugly heads again, with Patrick Maroon’s misconduct for firing the puck into the bench. Before he was tossed, he got into things with Jamie Oleksiak in the first period. Blake Coleman took two consecutive penalties in the second period. Though the Stars failed to capitalize on the man-advantage in Game 1, the Lightning need to keep their composure and not let themselves be dragged into pointless scrums after whistles.

The Lightning haven’t lost consecutive games in the entire playoffs yet. ‘Yet’ is the key word. They might be a confident team, but they will have dug themselves an enormous hole if they hand the Stars another win. Tampa Bay hasn’t beaten Dallas at all this season. The way they respond in tonight’s game is critical to how the rest of the series will play out.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forwards

Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov

Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Tyler Johnson

Barclay Goodrow - Yanni Gourde - Blake Coleman

Cedric Paquette - Patrick Maroon

Alexander Volkov, Mathieu Joseph, Carter Verhaeghe, Mitchell Stephens

Injured: Steven Stamkos

Defense Pairs

Victor Hedman - Zach Bogosian

Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak

Mikhail Sergachev - Kevin Shattenkirk

Luke Schenn, Braydon Coburn

Injured: Jan Rutta

Goaltenders

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Curtis McElhinney

Dallas Stars

Forwards

Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Alexander Radulov

Mattias JanmarkJoe PavelskiDenis Gurianov

Andrew CoglianoJason DickinsonBlake Comeau

Joel KivirantaJustin DowlingCorey Perry

Defense Pairs

Esa LindellJohn Klingberg

Jamie OleksiakMiro Heiskanen

Joel HanleyAndrej Sekera

Goaltenders

Anton Khudobin

Jake Oettinger