Stanley Cup Final 2020: Lightning vs. Stars odds, NHL picks, Game 3 predictions from advanced model

After suffering a surprising loss in the opener of the 2020 Stanley Cup Final, the Tampa Bay Lightning came out with a vengeance in Game 2, scoring three times in a span of less than four minutes in the first period. They managed to withstand a valiant comeback attempt by the Dallas Stars and evened the series at one win apiece. The Lightning and Stars both look to gain a distinct advantage when they take the ice for Game 3 on Wednesday. Opening face-off from Rogers Place in Edmonton is set for 8 p.m. ET.

In the 29 instances in which the Stanley Cup Final was even after two contests, the team that won Game 3 went on to capture the championship 22 times. The Stars accomplished the feat in 1999, but the Lightning won the Cup in 2004 despite losing Game 3 to Calgary. Tampa Bay is the -160 favorite in the latest Lightning vs. Stars odds from William Hill, while the over-under for total goals scored is five. Before making any Stars vs. Lightning picks, check out the NHL predictions from the SportsLine Projection Model.

This model simulates every NHL game 10,000 times, taking into account factors like current form, individual matchups, injuries and short- and long-term trends when making NHL picks. The model seeks the best values on the money line, puck line and total.

Now, the model has set its sights on Lightning vs. Stars. You can visit SportsLine now to see the picks. Here are the NHL odds from William Hill and trends for Stars vs. Lightning: 

  • Lightning vs. Stars money line: Tampa Bay -160, Dallas +140
  • Lightning vs. Stars puck line: Tampa Bay -1.5
  • Lightning vs. Stars over-under: 5 goals
  • TB: The Lightning are 1-4 in their last five Stanley Cup Final games
  • DAL: The Stars are 6-1 in their last seven games after scoring fewer than three goals in their previous contest

Why you should back the Lightning

Nikita Kucherov leads the NHL in scoring this postseason with a franchise-record 28 points after notching a pair of assists in Monday’s 3-2 victory. It was the 25th career multi-point playoff performance by the 27-year-old Russian, moving him past Martin St. Louis for first place on the Lightning’s all-time list. Kucherov is two points ahead of teammate Brayden Point, who shares the league lead with 10 postseason goals after opening the scoring in Game 2.

The 24-year-old Point, who had been kept off the scoresheet in back-to-back games for the first time this postseason before scoring on Monday, is three tallies away from matching the franchise mark for a single postseason set in 2015 by Tyler Johnson. The center has done most of his damage at even strength, scoring eight of his goals in that situation. Ondrej Palat, who also tallied in Game 2, and defenseman Victor Hedman are right behind Point with nine goals apiece this postseason.

Why you should back the Stars

Along with Vancouver’s Bo Horvat, veteran Joe Pavelski shares the playoff goal-scoring lead with Point. The 36-year-old Pavelski converted a power-play opportunity on Monday to join Maurice Richard (11 in 1958), Wayne Gretzky (10 in 1997) and Brett Hull (10 in 2002) as the only players in NHL history to reach double digits in goals in a postseason at the age of 36 or older. Rookie Denis Gurianov is one goal behind Pavelski while second-year defenseman Miro Heiskanen leads the Stars – and all NHL blue-liners – with 23 points.

The 21-year-old Heiskanen has recorded 18 assists and is three behind Sidney Crosby (21 years old, 2008) for most in a postseason by a player under the age of 22. Despite falling short in Game 2, the Stars have shown the ability to overcome deficits this postseason. They are first in the league with eight comeback victories and have rallied when trailing by multiple goals on three occasions, which ties them for the lead.

How to make Lightning vs. Stars picks

SportsLine’s model is leaning over on the total with the simulations giving Kucherov and Gurianov the best chance to score a goal for their respective sides. It also says one side of the money line has all the value. You can only get the pick at SportsLine.

So who wins Stars vs. Lightning? And which side of the money line has all the value? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Lightning vs. Stars money line to jump on, all from the advanced model that has simulated this matchup 10,000 times, and find out. 

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