After the Las Vegas Golden Knights dropped game 3 to the plucky Dallas Stars, Tampa Bay Lightning emerge as the team beat. Can the Bolts maintain the momentum?
The 2020 instalment of the Stanley Cup playoffs has surpassed expectations, admirably overcoming the challenging circumstances brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. It’s a postseason like no other: no crowds in attendance and the entire field of play relegated between two hub cities in Canada, enveloped within safe bubbles.
And yet the action is no different than previous seasons. It’s been thrilling, mesmerising and, at times, unpredictable so far, with upsets and surprises along the way. To be fair, it’s a smashing success for the league and for viewers, considering only a few months ago the idea of even completing the 2019-20 NHL season was in serious doubt.
To the credit of the NHL, they’ve put on an entirely complete experience for fans of the sport. And, the best bit, there’s still plenty of action ahead as the Eastern and Western Conference finals truly heat up.
By the NHL odds, Tampa Bay Lightning are currently the team to beat according to Intertops and other sportsbooks. The Bolts are in the driver’s seat with a 2-0 lead over the upstart New York Islanders ahead of game 3 on Friday.
The Lightning came out firing in the first game of the Eastern Conference final with the NY Islanders, eviscerating the surprise finalists 8-2.
The second game saw a more dogged effort by the Islanders, though they lost to the Bolts 2-1. Indeed, the Islanders were on the verge of forcing overtime when Nikita Kucherov scored the winning goal to lift Tampa Bay to the 2-0 lead.
Going into the conference finals, the Las Vegas Golden Knights were widely tipped as the team to beat in Stanley Cup betting, despite the fact that the Vancouver Canucks pushed them to game 7 in the semis. But that brief edge in the hockey markets proved to be short-lived. Following an overtime loss to the Dallas Stars in game 3, the Las Vegas Golden Knights slipped behind Tampa Bay in NHL betting markets.
The Stars upset the Golden Knights 3-2 in overtime on Thursday night. Dallas started the series brightly and took the 1-0 lead behind a 1-0 win in game 1, but the Knights levelled the series with a 3-0 win in game 2.
In spite of the setback, the Golden Knights are still favoured to emerge out of the Western Conference finals into the Stanley Cup finals. They may be trailing the Stars 1-2 in the series but there’s still all to play for in game 4, which is set to take place on Saturday, September 12.
In the meanwhile, the Lightning will look to take a stranglehold over the series with the Islanders on Friday, September 11.
The complete NHL schedule for the Eastern Conference and Western Conference final is as follows:
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL (Rogers Place – Edmonton)
No. 2 Tampa Bay Lightning vs. No. 6 New York Islanders (TB leads 2-0)
Game 1: Lightning 8, Islanders 2
Game 2: Lightning 2, Islanders 1
Game 3: Friday, Sept. 11, 8 p.m. ET – USA Network (livestream)
Game 4: Sunday, Sept. 13, 3 p.m. ET – NBC (livestream)
*Game 5: Tuesday, Sept. 15, 8 p.m. ET – NBCSN
*Game 6: Thursday, Sept. 17, 8 p.m. ET – NBCSN
*Game 7: Saturday, Sept. 19, 7:30 p.m. ET – NBC
WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL (Rogers Place – Edmonton)
No. 1 Vegas Golden Knights vs. No. 3 Dallas Stars (DAL leads 2-1)
Game 1: Stars 1, Golden Knights 0
Game 2: Golden Knights 3, Stars 0
Game 3: Stars 3, Golden Knights 2 [OT]
Game 4: Saturday, Sept. 12, 8 p.m. ET – NBC (livestream)
Game 5: Monday, Sept. 14, 8 p.m. ET – NBCSN (livestream)
*Game 6: Wednesday, Sept. 16, 8 p.m. ET – NBCSN *Game 7: Friday, Sept. 18, 9 p.m. ET – NBCSN