Tampa Bay Lightning at Dallas Stars: ROUND 4, GAME 4
Time: 8:00pm Eastern Time
Location: Rogers Place
Broadcast/Streaming: NBC, SN, TVA-S, CBC
Opponent SBNation Site: Defending Big D
The Lightning are two wins away from the Stanley Cup, but their toughest test of the playoffs lies in their way: the final back-to-back. They can’t think about it that way, though. Their first priority has to be to win Game 4, and after a really strong performance from the entire team, it’s clear the Lightning have the momentum in the series right now.
Tampa Bay has done an excellent job of shutting down Dallas’ top line offensively — Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin are pointless through three games and Alexander Radulov took two costly penalties and left the game early after a collision. It’s something that has to continue if they want to eventually win this series.
Obviously the legendary return of Steven Stamkos overshadowed a lot of the Bolts’ success last game, but it was obvious that he didn’t return to play at 100%. Whether or not he dresses tonight remains to be seen, but it might be within the Lightning’s best interests to rest him in this game and, if he’s able to, play him tomorrow.
If Stamkos can’t play tonight, we’d likely see Carter Verhaeghe draw back in — Jon Cooper explained that it was more difficult to go 11-7 against a faster team like the Stars, though they managed to successfully do it last game after Stamkos was stapled to the bench.
The one concerning area of Game 3 was the ten-minute(ish) stretch of the first period where the Lightning got completely caved in after taking a 2-0 lead. The team was lucky the Stars only scored once, and they can’t let it happen again.
Tampa Bay has only played one other back-to-back in these playoffs, which they swept against the Boston Bruins two rounds ago. But Dallas is a different beast, and they definitely won’t go away quietly. The Lightning are going to need their best players to show up again, and if they do, they’ll hopefully have a chance to clinch on Saturday.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Tyler Johnson
Barclay Goodrow - Yanni Gourde - Blake Coleman
Cedric Paquette - Patrick Maroon - Steven Stamkos ?
Alexander Volkov, Mathieu Joseph, Mitchell Stephens, Carter Verhaeghe
Victor Hedman - Jan Rutta
Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev - Kevin Shattenkirk
Zach Bogosian, Luke Schenn, Braydon Coburn
Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Alexander Radulov
Mattias Janmark – Joe Pavelski – Denis Gurianov
Andrew Cogliano – Jason Dickinson – Nick Caamano
Joel Kiviranta – Justin Dowling – Corey Perry
Injured: Blake Comeau
Esa Lindell – John Klingberg
Jamie Oleksiak – Miro Heiskanen
Joel Hanley – Andrej Sekera