We’re in the endgame of the 2020 NHL postseason and within the next week and a half or so, there will be a new crowned champion of the National Hockey League and we can finally stop pretending that St. Louis is good at anything, let alone the sport of hockey.
In this year’s final are the scrappy Dallas Stars, who are just one season out from their top players being labeled “f*cking horsesh*t” by the team’s CEO Jim Lites. Adding strange bedfellows in former Anaheim Ducks winger Corey Perry and San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski added depth to the Stars’ lineup, but the stunning play of goaltender Anton Khudobin has solidified them as a contender who isn’t backing down any time soon.
Facing off against them are the annual contenders of the Tampa Bay Lightning, who have spent the last several seasons in the cup conversation, before inevitably falling flat, whether to injury or bad luck. The extra rest this year seems to have done the trick — though the team is still with Steven Stamkos, they’ve managed to make it this far, anyway, Still, if Brayden Point doesn’t stay healthy, that spells easy trouble for the Bolts, who need all the help they can get in breaking Khudobin.
Game 1 Preview
From SB Nation’s Defending Big D:
The Lightning will try to break the Stars’ forecheck with speed and east/west puck movement. Getting the puck to the weak side allows for odd-man rushes, or at worst, a Stars team chasing. Dallas snow plows north/south through the neutral zone by activating the defense, again creating odd-man rushes and rebounds. This is solid, secondary offense for both teams and if it can’t be controlled, could change the scoring narrative for either team.
From SB Nation’s Raw Charge:
If the Islanders were a better version of the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Stars are a better version of the Isles — just as solid, if not more, defensively, with better offensive catalysts. The Lightning were probably at their best defensively against the Isles in Game 6, and they’re going to need to carry that over against Dallas. A lot of the Stars’ offense is created from the back end through defenders like Miro Heiskanen, Esa Lindell and John Klingberg, but depth players like Denis Gurianov and Joel Kiviranta can burn the Lightning as well.
Dallas Stars (via NHL.com)
Jamie Benn — Tyler Seguin — Alexander Radulov
Mattias Janmark — Joe Pavelski — Denis Gurianov
Joel Kiviranta — Roope Hintz — Corey Perry
Andrew Cogliano — Jason Dickinson — Blake Comeau
Esa Lindell — John Klingberg
Jamie Oleksiak — Miro Heiskanen
Andrej Sekera — Joel Hanley
Expected Scratches: Nick Caamano, Ty Dellandrea, Jason Robertson, Gavin Bayreuther, Thomas Harley, Landon Bow, Justin Dowling, Taylor Fedun
Unfit to Play: Stephen Johns, Ben Bishop, Radek Faksa
Tampa Bay Lightning (via NHL.com)
Ondrej Palat — Brayden Point — Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn — Anthony Cirelli — Tyler Johnson
Barclay Goodrow — Yanni Gourde — Blake Coleman
Pat Maroon — Cedric Paquette
Victor Hedman — Kevin Shattenkirk
Ryan McDonagh — Zach Bogosian
Mikhail Sergachev — Erik Cernak
Expected Scratches: Carter Verhaeghe, Mathieu Joseph, Mitchell Stephens, Alexander Volkov, Braydon Coburn, Scott Wedgewood
Unfit to Play: Jan Rutta, Steven Stamkos
How to Watch
Puck Drop: 4:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Rogers Place, Edmonton, AB
Broadcast/Streaming: NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS, FuboTV
Game 1: Saturday, Sept. 19, 4:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. ET
Game 2: Monday, Sept. 21, 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET
Game 3: Wednesday, Sept. 23, 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET
Game 4: Friday, Sept. 25, 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET
Game 5: Saturday, Sept. 26, 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET
Game 6: Monday, Sept. 28, 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET
Game 7: Wednesday, Sept. 30, 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET