Given how unpredictable 2020 has been so far, I’m honestly not sure how I would rank a Stanley Cup Final where Barclay Goodrow faces off against Joe Pavelski while the San Jose Sharks are on a nine-month hiatus. It seems like in a year without coronavirus, this would just be one of those always the bridesmaid, never the bride moments that Sharks fans revel in, a familiar pain of being told “It’s not your turn just yet.”
Instead, we’re here, with hockey being played in a bubble that I’m ultimately glad the Sharks were spared from, and two former Sharks players who, all things considered, have earned a right to a Stanley Cup Final.
I’m happy for them, even if it’s because I’m cursed with a heart that won’t let me wish anything horrible onto any former Sharks — once you have my affection, that’s sort of a life-long deal that’s pretty hard to break, even if a certain two-time cup chaser has tested those limits.
I’m also a little bummed, if I’m being totally honest. Seeing two players that Sharks territory grew fond of chasing that thing they never got in San Jose ... it stings a little. One of them will get a cup at the end of this and the Sharks still stink. I don’t love that.
So let’s turn it to you: how are you feeling, Sharks Territory? Who are we rooting for in the end? How do we choose?
And what do we learn from this? How does Team Teal move forward?
Just something to think about during tonight’s game, I guess.
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