NHL Covid- 19 Playoffs Finals Predictions and Analysis
Another round, another upset. The Dallas Stars managed to beat the Golden Knights in just 5 games. Although a lot of credit goes to Dallas, this was not the Golden Knights team that we saw steam rolling at the start of the playoffs. Even coach Peter DeBoer admitted that his team lost confidence in this series from Thatcher Demko’s performance in Round 2. Although Vegas controlled a lot of the play and even out chanced the Stars, they had no finish. They ran into a hot goaltender in Khudobin and struggled to find the back of the net. In the Eastern conference final, the series went just how it was predicted, Lightning in 6. The well rested team came out and just disrespected the Islanders, pumping them 8-2 in game 1. The Lightning did battle some injuries in this series losing Brayden Point in game 5. He would come back for game 6 and showed how important he is to that team when they dropped game 5.
(2) Tampa Bay Lightning vs. (3) Dallas Stars
With Game 1 starting on Saturday night, this series has a lot of X-Factors that could shake up the series. The first one is Anton Khudobin who posted a .950 in the conference finals. The Russian machine played out of his mind for a backup goalie. The Stars were capable of keeping shots to the outside against a struggling Vegas team but the Lightning are just built different. The Lightning have tons of scoring throughout their lineup and with the potential return of Steven Stamkos, the Stars will be put up against a much bigger task. The Lightning played one extra game then the Stars which could effect them due to them having recent injuries. For the Lightning, this series should not be much different then the previous ones. The Stars play a very structured and defensive game much like the Islanders and Blue Jackets which the Lightning have fared well against. The Stars get more contribution from the back end oppose to the Islanders, so shutting down Heiskanen and Klingberg has to be a key for them to winning this series. If Khudobin continues to put up impressive numbers I wouldn’t be surprised if the Stars won this series but the Lightning have to much depth up front for goal scoring to be an issue. The potential return of Stamkos will also boost the Lightning offence and make it even harder for the Stars to limit scoring chances. The Stars have proven that they can win games when being out chanced and out shot so I think this series will be a long one. It will be a low scoring series but in the end I think Tampa comes out on top.
Lightning in 7