Unless Jon Cooper decides to show his cards, we likely won’t find out whether or not Steven Stamkos will make his long-awaited return to the Tampa Bay Lightning lineup until the teams take the ice for warmup about 30 minutes before puck drop. If the captain does play, refrain from chasing steam or getting the worst of an already inflated game line. Instead, go straight for the series line and lay the favorite at -200 or better, as the Lightning’s odds of winning the series would then start to move closer to -230.
Ondrej Palat Over 2.5 Shots On Goal -125 (DraftKings)
Rick Bowness and the Dallas Stars will be the designated as the home team tonight which means they’ll have last change. That should mean some tougher assignments for the likes of Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point. However, their linemate Ondrej Palat will likely get a few more looks in this game due to the extra attention that will be paid to them. Palat has been particularly good on the "road," but overall, only Kucherov has generated shots at higher rate. The fact that he’s playing the point position on the top power play unit doesn’t hurt either.
Ondrej Palat First Goal Scorer plus-1150 (DraftKings)
Sticking with Palat here, there’s a reason that the Lightning forward has more goals (9) than Kucherov (7). According to Evolving Hockey, Palat has generated almost two full expected goals more than Kucherov, which means he has been getting better shots and chances than his more talented teammate. Remember, it was Palat who scored five goals in Round 2 against the Boston Bruins, and three more against the New York Islanders and he’s got as good of a chance at opening the scoring as anybody does.