In the 112 playoff games prior to the Stanley Cup Final, there were three games when both teams registered 50 hits each. However, following Wednesday’s Game 4, the last three games of the final generated 50 hits each.
That should be reason enough for the Dallas Stars to realize that Tampa Bay is more than a finesse, high-scoring team, led by Swedish defenseman Victor Hedman, who might be the NHL’s best blue-liner at this time.
Plus. the emotional lift with the (brief) return of Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, who scored moments into his second shift before returning to “the room” for further injury treatment; he played cheerleader on the bench for the final two periods, leaveing doubt that the Stars will not be mounting any sort of historic comeback.
So where do you place your money? Here’s what I did last season, when I suggested how to hedge on St. Louis even though I touted Boston the once the regular season came to a conclusion.
Instead of laying tons of chalk on Tampa Bay, at alternative is to select the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the playoffs (not just the Stanley Cup Final). An informal poll of media whom vote on the award already have a clear selection: right-winger Nikita Kucherov.
Kucherov is the dominate leader in playoff scoring with 30 points,, already setting, more than a dozen (unofficially, 16 at last count) club postseason scoring records, be it in a series, a playoff season or career marks. And at odds still at +300 to +400, thid easily beats laying -200 or higher on a Game 5 or series price.
How can Dallas rally? CBC Television in Canada gave away the answer Wednesday night. The network reported that the Stars’ first goal against Bolts goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy was the 19th allowed in 46 playoff goals allowed that went over his glove (right hand). Throw in a second Dallas goal that rolled up his right should and into the net means Vasilevsky has allowed 63.8 percent (20-of-47) shots to beat him above his glove hand.
Why? Who knows and who cares! Just tell Stars coach Rick Bowness to instruct his troops to aim for the top corner — it seems to be working