After nine periods of hockey in two days, both the Tampa Bay Lightning and Dallas Stars are going to show some signs of wear in this series finale. The Bolts have already ruled out Steven Stamkos returning again, so Tampa Bay has to find a new way to get whatever extra spark his presence granted.
Still, the Lightning are a force that the Stars so far have only merely held off, even in their incredible Game 1 win on the back of Anton Khudobin. If the Stars can’t take more control of the neutral zone, the Bolts will make them regret it.
Here’s everything you need to know before tuning in tonight:
In Their Words
From SB Nation’s Raw Charge:
Tampa Bay was outplayed by Dallas in the first and third periods of Game 5, which can’t happen tonight if they want to end this series before the Stars have a chance to win the Cup. The Stars played like a desperate team, and despite not missing several players and having Andrej Sekera injured during the game, they somehow managed to pull out the win. [...]
Whether it was fatigue or complacency, the Lightning just looked ‘off’ for large parts of Game 5. That can’t happen again tonight, otherwise we’ll probably be heading for an all-or-nothing Game 7. The Lightning did a lot of things right in both extra frames, they just couldn’t capitalize on any of their chances. Hopefully they’re a lot more opportunistic and accurate tonight.
From SB Nation’s Defending Big D:
One key to the Stars’ success on Saturday night was the fact that the team managed to limit their trips to the penalty box, a clear diversion from what had been the norm in the previous games in the series. Now, whether that was a result of playing cleaner or not getting caught as much because the referees took a lot of heat for the way they called the game on Friday night is up for debate.
Regardless of how it comes to be, it will be important that the Stars continue to stay out of the penalty box if they want any hope of forcing a Game 7 and a chance to hoist Lord Stanley’s chalice. Dallas is missing a number of key personnel for killing penalties off. Blake Comeau and Radek Faksa, two of the Stars’ top penalty killing forwards, were ruled as “unfit to play” on Sunday, making it unlikely they’ll be in the lineup tonight.
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 — Carter Verhaeghe
Victor Hedman — Jan Rutta
Ryan McDonagh — Kevin Shattenkirk
Mikhail Sergachev — Erik Cernak
Expected Scratches: Mathieu Joseph, Mitchell Stephens, Alexander Volkov, Braydon Coburn, Scott Wedgewood, Luke Schenn, Zach Bogosian
Unfit to Play: Steven Stamkos
DALLAS STARS (via NHL.com)
Joel Kiviranta — Tyler Seguin — Corey Perry
Jamie Benn — Joe Pavelski — Alexander Radulov
Mattias Janmark — Justin Dowling — Denis Gurianov
Andrew Cogliano — Jason Dickinson — Nick Caamano
Esa Lindell — John Klingberg
Jamie Oleksiak — Miro Heiskanen
Andrej Sekera — Joel Hanley
Expected Scratches: Ty Dellandrea, Jason Robertson, Gavin Bayreuther, Thomas Harley, Landon Bow, Taylor Fedun
Unfit to Play: Stephen Johns, Ben Bishop, Radek Faksa, Blake Comeau, Roope Hintz
How to Watch
Puck Drop: 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET
Location: Rogers Place, Edmonton, AB
Broadcast/Streaming: NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS, FuboTV
Game 1: Stars 4, Lightning 1
Game 2: Stars 2, Lightning 3
Game 3: Lightning 5, Stars 2
Game 4: Lightning 5, Stars 4 (OT)
Game 5: Stars 3, Lightning 2 (2OT)
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