NHL Betting Guide: Friday 9/25/20

It's Game 4.

It's hard not to overstate the importance of tonight's hockey game, but surely Game 4 will prove to be a critical juncture. Only one team has come back from a 3-1 series deficit in the Stanley Cup Finals, and that was the Toronto Maple Leafs way back in 1942, which means the pressure rests squarely on the Dallas Stars' shoulders.

Here's a what we're looking at tonight.

Dallas Stars vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

Stars moneyline (+140): 1-Star Rating Out of 5

If defense wins championships, the Dallas Stars should remain optimistic about their chances against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

So far this postseason, the Stars have stymied some pretty noteworthy offenses. In the second round, they held the Colorado Avalanche at bay. They then proceeded to limit the Vegas Golden Knights to eight goals in five games. The metrics through three games of the Stanley Cup Finals suggests that their defensive play is only getting better. Dallas has limited Tampa Bay to 26 or fewer scoring chances in all three games and allowed only eight high-danger chances against in Games 1 and 3.

This suffocating defensive play hasn't translated to fewer goals against, though, as the Lightning have scored eight goals over their last two games. The jump in Tampa's shooting percentage despite decreases in opportunities would lead one to believe that goal-scoring should regress.

Offensively, the Stars have improved their metrics since the Conference Finals. They are creating more scoring opportunities and high-danger chances, which has resulted in a bump in their shooting percentage.

A bounce-back effort from Anton Khudobin would certainly go a long way to helping the Stars chances. After getting his playoff save percentage up to 92.3%, Khudobin has a cumulative 86.7% save percentage over the last two games. He has been a difference-maker so far this postseason, and I'm not ready to write him off yet.

Tonight's game has all the makings of a classic don't-give-up-an-inch slugfest. And that brand of hockey certainly favors the Stars' style of play. Our projections have the Stars moneyline as a one-star play.