Stars vs. Lightning: Free Picks, Odds & Predictions

Stars vs Lightning NHL
Dallas vs. Tampa Bay, American Airlines Center

This season has had opposite effects on the two teams that battled for the Stanley Cup last season. The Tampa Bay Lightning look every bit the part of defending champions with a league-leading .747 points percentage and 13 wins in their last 16 contests. Meanwhile, the Dallas Stars won five of their first seven games but have won just five times since then as they have a tough road to climb back into the playoff hunt.

Free Picks

Victor Hedman is known more for his passing than his scoring, but there’s something about this game that makes me believe Hedman will light the lamp. Hedman has scored six times this season, though he’s been limited to just two assists and three shots in three games this season against Dallas. That’s a main reason why the legal sports betting sites in New Jersey are offering +310 odds on Hedman scoring a goal. However, Hedman is an excellent two-way defenseman who is not afraid to take his chances with a shot, and I expect the lanes to be there for Hedman on Tuesday night.

VICTOR HEDMAN SCORES GOAL

Each of Tampa Bay’s last 11 games has featured at least five goals, as has nine of Dallas’ last 11 games, so we’re already close enough to the number to make me feel comfortable. These two teams combined for six goals last week – three each – before the Lightning won in a shootout, and Tampa Bay blanked Dallas 5-0 in the first meeting. In reality, it’s hard to predict how Dallas’ defense will hold up against Tampa Bay’s offense, but I didn’t feel confident enough in a low-scoring game. The over/under itself was set at 5.5 goals by the hockey betting sites in New Jersey, so I’ll just take the +110 odds and run with it that this is going to be a high-scoring affair.

OVER 5.5 TOTAL GOALS

I was tempted to pick Tampa Bay against the spread, but Dallas has been excellent lately at staying competitive in games. Five of the Stars’ last six games were one-goal contests and their last four losses all came by a single goal. Tampa Bay is clearly the better team and four of its last five victories have been multi-goal triumphs. The exception is a 4-3 shootout win over the Stars a week ago in Dallas. I don’t expect Tampa Bay to need more than 60 minutes to defeat the Stars, but I don’t want to bet on this being a blowout. I’ll settle for the kind +105 odds from the NHL betting sites in New Jersey that the Lightning handle their business in regulation.

TOTAL TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING WIN IN REGULATION

Best Odds

Dallas Tampa Bay
888Sport
+130 -157
FanDuel
+136 -162
BetMGM
+130 -155

Statistics

Head to Head

This is the fourth of eight scheduled rematches of last year’s Stanley Cup Final between Dallas and Tampa Bay. The Lightning have won each of the previous three meetings this year with the Stars

Stats

  • Tampa Bay leads the league in scoring at 3.68 goals per game and also lead the NHL by scoring on 12 percent of its shot attempts. The Lightning also rank fifth in the league by allowing just 2.32 goals per game, one of two teams ranked in the top-five in both categories.
  • Dallas has the second-most overtime losses of any team in the NHL with eight defeats after regulation. Most of those defeats have come in the shootout as Dallas is 1-5 this season when 65 minutes isn’t enough to decide a winner, the most shootout losses in the league.
  • Victor Hedman leads all defensemen with 32 points this season thanks to 26 assists thus far. He is tied with Tyson Barrie and Quinn Hughes for most assists by a defensemen this season.
  • Joe Pavelski is Dallas’ only 20-point scorer 28 games into the season as he is still averaging exactly one point per game. He evenly split his 28 points with 14 goals and 14 assists, which is eight more goals than the next closest Stars goal-scorer.

Our Prediction for Dallas vs. Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay Lightning to win

It’s hard to bet against the defending champions in this rematch of last year’s Stanley Cup Final. The Tampa Bay Lightning enter this matchup on a four-game winning streak and they are 13-2-1 in their last 16 games. Meanwhile, the Dallas Stars have won just five times since winning five of their first seven games of the season. Though they have claimed a point in seven of their last 16 losses, Dallas is not the same team it was when it surprised everyone in the bubble last summer. With the Lightning on a roll and the Stars sputtering, there’s no reason to believe that form will not carry over into Tuesday’s matchup.

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Josh Walfish is an award-winning journalist who has been covering college and professional sports in the United States. He holds a journalism degree from Northwestern University and his work has appeared in the Miami Herald, Chicago Sun-Times and Providence Journal. He most recently chronicled the UMass hockey teams rise to prominence over the last two years for the local newspaper

All Reviews by Josh Walfish

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