Richard W. Rodriguez/Associated Press
Either the Dallas Stars or the Tampa Bay Lightning will soon be celebrating their second NHL championship at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, the host site for the Stanley Cup Final. And after Saturday night, the odds have shifted in Dallas’ favor.
As NHL.com’s Dan Rosen pointed out, the team that has won Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final has gone on to win the series 61 out of 80 times since it became a best-of-seven series in 1939. That bodes well for the Stars as they look to win the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1999.
The Lightning haven’t faced much adversity this postseason, but they are a strong team. History may be against them, but there’s only been one game played, and a lot can still happen from here.
Here’s a look at the schedule for the rest of the series, followed by a preview of Monday’s Game 2.
Stanley Cup Final Schedule
Game 1: Dallas won 4-1
Game 2: Monday at 8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
Game 3: Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
Game 4: Friday at 8 p.m. ET, NBC
Game 5 (if necessary): Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, NBC
Game 6 (if necessary): Sept. 28 at 8 p.m. ET, NBC
Game 7 (if necessary): Sept. 30 at 8 p.m. ET, NBC
Games can be streamed live at NBC Sports Live.
Game 2 Preview
What is the key for Tampa Bay to come back and tie the Stanley Cup Final in Game 2? Finding a way to generate some offense against Dallas goaltender Anton Khudobin, who has had the hot hand and is a key reason why the Stars have advanced this deep into the postseason.
In Game 1, the Lightning had no problems creating shots, as they attempted 36 shots on goal. However, Khudobin stopped 35 of them. Tampa Bay’s lone goal was a score by Yanni Gourde, who tied the game at 1-1 with seven minutes, 28 seconds to go in the first period.
Dallas went on to score a pair of goals in the second period, and Jason Dickinson’s empty-netter in the final minutes of the third period sealed the team’s sixth win in its past seven games.
Khudobin came up big in the third period, when the Lightning dominated proceedings. They outshot the Stars 22-2 in the final stanza, but the 34-year-old stopped every one of their efforts. However, Dallas’ goaltender also credited the team’s defenders for the impressive final period against Tampa Bay’s strong attack.
“It’s a team sport, I tried to do my part, they tried to do that part, and we all communicate there,” Khudobin said, according to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN). “It’s always great when you see the guys blocking shots and things like that and cleaning front of the net too.”
It also helped that the Stars capitalized on offense. Their four goals were the most they had scored in a game since Game 7 of their second-round series against the Colorado Avalanche. Still, in their five-game series win against the Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference Final, the offense did enough to complement the team’s strong defensive play.
With only one off day between Games 1 and 2, the Lightning again won’t have much time to rest, which is going to be the case for the rest of the series. They only had one off day between their final game of the Eastern Conference Final and Game 1 of this series, while the Stars had four days to rest and recover.
Perhaps that helped Dallas open this series with a win. And now that it has momentum, maybe it will carry that over into Game 2 and extend its lead. However, Tampa Bay has yet to lose consecutive games this postseason, always finding a way to bounce back in strong fashion.
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