Stanley Cup Final 2020 Picks: Lightning vs Stars Game 6 Predictions
The Dallas Stars kept the hockey season alive in Game 5 by defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning in double overtime thanks to a goal from veteran Corey Perry. Tampa Bay still leads the series 3-2 as we head into an all-important Game 6 on Monday night.
For the first time in this series, Dallas was actually the better team on the ice in Game 5. Tampa Bay had most of the shot attempts, but Dallas had 58.5% of the expected goals and 62% of the high danger chances. This means the Stars did a phenomenal job keeping the Lightning to the outside and limiting the quality of chances the Lightning got. Their scoring chances were of a higher quality compared to their opponent.
The frightening part for the Stars has to be that even though they played a tremendous game, they still needed a late third period goal to tie the game and then needed two overtimes to pull out a greasy win. This just highlights the talent disparity between these two teams. However, take nothing away from Dallas. If they play the way they played in Game 5 every night, they will win most games.
Unfortunately for them, the first four games of the series sang a different tune. Based on the sample size, we have to assume that Game 5 was the outlier and the Stars will continue to be out-possessed and out-chanced by the Lightning as we close out this series.
If that does happen, the series will fall on the shoulders of Dallas’ netminder Anton Khudobin. After Game 4, many including myself were questioning whether Khudobin had run out of gas. He shut us right up by stopping 39 of the 41 Tampa Bay shots in Game 5 and backstopping his team to within two wins of the Stanley Cup.
This series is actually quite simple. If Anton Khudobin provides above average goaltending, Dallas has a legitimate chance. If Khudobin is even average, the Lightning will prevail. The results of this series line-up with that. Khudobin’s save percentages in this series are: 97.2%, 90.3%, 82.8%, 85.7% and 95.1%. Can you guess which two games the Stars won?
It’s hard to say whether Game 5 was a desperate team staving off elimination and putting together one last stand, or whether Dallas figured out how to slow down the Lightning. Based on the fact that this was the second half of back-to-back games, I’m going to say that the game wasn’t as crisp or fast paced which lends itself to the less talented team. In this case, that’s Dallas.
Now with the teams getting a day off on Sunday, I expect fresher legs in Game 6. This will probably lead itself to favoring the Lightning. At the very least, I think it’ll favor more skill plays. The over/under on this game is set at five goals. All five games so far have either gone over or pushed.
I think we see the offenses continue to score goals. As I said prior to Game 4, we need two goals from Dallas to get this game to go over the total. They’ve scored at least two goals in every game of this series, which is why over 5 goals hasn’t lost yet.
I expect the trend to continue. Sit back and root for goals in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final.