Dallas Stars at Tampa Bay Lightning: ROUND 4, GAME 5
Time: 8:00pm Eastern Time
Location: Rogers Place
Broadcast/Streaming: NBC, SN, TVA-S, CBC
Opponent SBNation Site: Defending Big D
It’s been a long time coming, but we finally made it: the Tampa Bay Lightning are up 3-1 in the Stanley Cup Final and have a chance to clinch the trophy tonight.
The Lightning’s top line continued to dominate, but last night we saw the depth scoring come up big as well, including a goal from the second line (Alex Killorn) and two goals from the second power play unit (including Kevin Shattenkirk’s overtime winner).
Dallas got a lot of lucky bounces in Game 4 (see: the tying goal that went off Shattenkirk’s leg), but the game was ultimately dictated by some questionable officiating. That could mean the officials put their whistles away tonight and neither team sees a power play unless something blatant is done. If that’s the case, the Lightning have to make sure they don’t get frustrated by non-calls or respond with retaliation.
As for the goaltenders, though Cooper quipped that if Game 4 went to five overtimes he might have to re-evaluate who starts the next day, and despite the fact that Andrei Vasilevskiy looked human yesterday, he should get the start again tonight. It would be surprising to see anyone but Anton Khudobin back in net for Dallas, but I suppose there’s always a chance they give Jake Oettinger the start (if Ben Bishop is still unfit to play, that is).
Both Jon Cooper and Rick Bowness have said that this year’s Stanley Cup might be the hardest to win, and the Lightning have a monstrous task ahead of them if they want to do that tonight. Not only are they playing to clinch on the second-half of a back-to-back, but since last night’s game went to overtime, both teams will undoubtedly be more tired coming into Game 5.
That means this can go one of two ways: one goalie posts a shutout or the Stars and Lightning run up the score with even more goals than last night. And regardless of whether or not Steven Stamkos can play tonight, the Lightning will need their best performance of the season against a Stars team that will be playing with more desperation than ever before.
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 – Carter Verhaeghe
Alexander Volkov, Mathieu Joseph, Mitchell Stephens
Injured: Steven Stamkos
Victor Hedman – Jan Rutta
Ryan McDonagh – Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev – Kevin Shattenkirk
Zach Bogosian, Luke Schenn, Braydon Coburn
Injured: Blake Comeau