Game 4 - Tampa Bay at Dallas
Playoffs: Stanley Cup Finals
Date: Friday, September 25, 2020
TV-Time: NBC, 8:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Rogers Place
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Wasn't able to get there with the Stars in Game 3, as it was another case where one really bad frame (it was the 2nd period in Game 3) really did them in.
Dallas was outshot 21-4 in that middle frame, and a 2-1 deficit after one period ballooned into a 5-1 hole that they just weren't going to come back from. It's just the second time in these playoffs that the Stars have found themselves trailing in a series – they were down 2-1 to Calgary in the first round as well – and that Game 4 saw the Stars escape with a 5-4 OT victory.
Can the same type of magic happen again for Dallas? Or will Tampa put this thing away quickly now that Stamkos is back and he's already found his way to the scoresheet?
The score sheets may only look like Tampa's benefited from two very strong periods in this series, but for the most part in all three games they've controlled and dictated the play.
It's been impressive to say the least, seeing the Lightning come into the series as the prohibitive favorite and play like they deserved that chalk and praise through the majority of the first three games.
Seeing the Lightning play like that, and re-inserting Stamkos into things and not missing a beat in Game 3 has got me really hesitant to continue backing Dallas as strongly in this series, although I do still believe the Stars win at least one more game in this series.
But being in the position with Dallas futures already out there, any play on the side is going to be Dallas or nothing in general, but for Game 4 it looks to be best to stay on the sidelines there.
That being said, if the Stars are to say win Game 4, or even a Game 5 to stay alive, what is their best path to get there?
Should they sit back like they did in the final period of Game 1, just squatting on the lead they built? They tried sticking with that out of the gates in Game 2 and got blown out early.
Should they go out and battle guns blazing with the Lightning, trying to outscore them in higher scoring 4-3 or 5-4 type games like they did vs Colorado? That was the only other time Dallas lost twice in a row in these playoffs in that series (Games 5 and 6), and it was in the next game that the Stars came away with a 5-4 OT win. Not to mention that a 5-4 OT score was the exact result in that Calgary series when the Stars last trailed in a playoff series in the bubble.
All that being said, maybe outside of the ultra longshot in calling the exact result to be a 5-4 Dallas win in OT in Game 4 vs Tampa, I believe Dallas has to settle on taking the guns blazing route and do their best to match Tampa goal for goal.
The Lightning are probably a bit more sound defensively then Colorado was, and definitely have the better netminder, so it's not going to be easy for the Stars, but that's the way they've got to approach things. Believing they need at least 4 goals to win.
If they get four and Khudobin stands on his head for them great, but all that is a long winded way of saying the best bets on these games going forward is likely seeing the 'over' come in another time or two.
Dallas has no shot at trying to win three of four games in a low-scoring 2-1 or 3-1 fashion, and who knows, maybe Khudobin's magical run in these playoffs has finally hit a wall.
The Stars realize they've got to bury the chances they do come up with now, because Tampa's going to threaten at least three goals every night.
Not sure who ends up on top here, but the final score is at least 4-2 for one of them.
NHL Game 4 Predictions
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