Game 6 - Tampa Bay at Dallas
Playoffs: Stanley Cup Finals
Date: Monday, September 28, 2020
TV-Time: NBC, 8:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Rogers Place
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
A pair of OT games on back-to-back nights saw these teams split Games 4 and 5, with the Stars winning the latter to prolong this series for at least one more contest. That Game 6 goes tonight, as the Stars are once again looking to stay alive and force a Game 7. To do so they'll need to stay disciplined.
In the two wins by Dallas in this series, they've stayed disciplined enough to not give the Lightning at least four opportunities with the man advantage because that seems to be the magic number. In every one of Tampa's three victories in this series, they've had at least four power play chances and have gone 6-for-12 with those opportunities. In the two wins by Dallas, Tampa's gone 0-3 and 0-1 respectively with those same man advantage opportunities.
Obviously it's not as simple for Dallas as saying “stay out of the box in general, and keep the puck out of your net when you do,” but that's kind of what it's got to feel like for some of those Stars players. An undisciplined 1st period in Game 2 was the main reason for a three-goal hole they fell one short of climbing out of – Tampa scored two of their three goals on the power play – and two power play goals in the 2nd period of Game 4 kept allowing Tampa to tie the game, ultimately winning it with a power play goal in OT.
Six of Tampa's 16 total goals in this series have come with the man advantage (6-for-16), compared to just one of the Stars 15 goals in this series coming with the extra attacker (1-for-16).
Keep this game five-on-five and Dallas has to feel great about their chances. The later in series' we get, the tendency is for power play chances to dry up for both sides in general, so that could work more and more in the Stars favor should they hang around after tonight. I mean, it's not like we couldn't see a bit of a reversal in fortune in those power play percentages going forward either. Statistically it would make sense, and oh what a time it would be for the Dallas power play to get hot and their penalty killers simultaneously stifling Tampa's power play. Those are what you need to have happen as an underdog looking to force a Game 7.
And while a play on Dallas does mean you are betting into Tampa's great run of not having lost two games in a row during their entire bubble stay, a run that actually extends since a handful of games since the shutdown (5-0 SU off a loss inside the bubble, 7-0 SU run overall for Tampa). Tampa closing this thing out is still going to take some work, and they really did miss an opportunity to do so in Game 5 when plenty was working in their favor being the team off a high in the back-to-back spot.
Khudobin may have run out of some steam, but he's held his own since a shaky start to Game 2, and as long as he's not having to be an often-called upon penalty killer, the 13-10 edge in goals Dallas has in five-on-five play in this series (Dallas does have one short-handed goal) is plenty for Dallas backers like myself to hang their hat on.
The price has slowly been creeping a bit higher on Dallas as the morning has gone on, as apparently many believe the Stanley Cup is being handed out tonight. I'm not ready to go there yet with this Dallas team, even with a futures ticket pending on them, I'm not afraid to essentially double up on them tonight.
Just stay out of the box Dallas.
NHL Game 6 Predictions
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