For the first time since 2009, the Stanley Cup Final will feature games on back-to-back nights. However, unlike a decade ago, the Cup is actually on the line. The Tampa Bay Lightning’s overtime win over the Dallas Stars in Game 4 has put them within one win of hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup.
It was a bit of a strange game, though, and not as close as the final score might suggest. The Stars jumped out to an early 2-0 lead despite being badly outplayed, the Lightning didn’t let the early deficit discourage them. According to Evolving Hockey, the Lightning owned approximately 55 percent of the shot attempts and generated about 60 percent of the expected goals.
Fatigue a factor in Dallas crease
Anton Khudobin kept his team in the game early, however, the things that led to the veteran goaltender riding the pine in the third period of Game 3 were once again a problem in Game 4. It was apparent, based on the way that Khudobin was tracking and handling the puck, that he was fatigued. And who can blame him? He’s 35 years old and he has seen a lot of rubber.
The Game 4 total closed at 5 and sailed over (-127) and bettors should look for the total to trend towards going over the 5 goal total once again. With so much at stake, expect more of what we saw in Game 3. The Stars can’t rely on Khudobin to steal them a game anymore. Their best chance of winning Game 4 is to try and keep it close and hope that they get an extra bounce or two.
Adjusted series price
With a 3-1 series lead, the Lightning have about a 94 percent chance (-1570) of winning the series, and the Stanley Cup. As far as Game 5 goes, the Lightning are once again the designated home team. They’ll get the last change and Jon Cooper will be able to dictate the matchups. By my estimation, the Bolts should be priced around -163 (which represents about a 62 percent chance of winning).