NHL Betting Guide: Monday 9/21/20

Anton Khudobin is the odds-on favorite for the Conn Smythe Trophy. Can he help stake the Stars to a 2-0 series lead?

The Dallas Stars jumped out to an important series lead after taking Game 1 by a score of 4-1 on Saturday night. In the 2020 Playoffs, the team that has won Game 1 has gone on to win 19 of the 22 series. It looks like the Tampa Bay Lightning have their work cut out for themselves.

Here's a preview of tonight's action!

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Dallas Stars

Stars moneyline (+135): 1-Star Rating Out of 5

Tampa Bay Lightning players and fans alike will be excited about the prospect of Steven Stamkos making his postseason debut as early as tonight. Nothing is confirmed, but Stamkos was a participant in the morning skate, and there is speculation that he might take warm-up to see if he can play tonight.

At this point, the Lightning will take all the offensive help they can get. Tampa has been held to two or fewer goals in four of their last six games, compiling a 6.7% shooting percentage over that span. Tampa's shooting percentage for the postseason is 8.7% and has been buoyed by three games in which they scored five, seven, and eight goals. If not for those three huge outbursts, their team shooting percentage would be hovering around the 7.0% mark.

The Lightning's offensive struggles play right into the Dallas Stars' defense-first system. Tampa was limited to 26 scoring chances and eight high-danger scoring chances in Game 1, and they were out-chanced in both regards. Even when they are able to break free and create chances, they still have to contend with Anton Khudobin.

Khudobin has stopped 95.9% of shots faced over his last six games, winning five of those contests. He continues to thrive with the Stars as the "away" team, helping Dallas to a 9-2 record and stopping 93.0% of shots.

Tampa has shown that they can win games playing a defensive brand of hockey, though that plays right into Dallas' strategy. I'm not convinced that they can beat the Stars at their own game, particularly with Khudobin playing the way he has been. Our model projects an advantage in taking Dallas to win tonight, but the price has dropped since opening, so act quickly. Stars moneyline is a one-star play.