The Dallas Stars took game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Saturday. With game 2 set to begin tonight, the Tampa Bay Lightning aim to bounce back.
For Tampa Bay, it was not the start they hoped for in their first Stanley Cup Finals appearance since 2015. The team lacked aggression, and the offensive firepower they had shown throughout the playoffs was hard to find. The Lightning’s lone goal on Saturday was a ricocheted puck that bounced off two defenders.
The Lightning still managed to put 36 shots on goal, a mark the team will look to build off of tonight.
There are few factors that can bolster the offense and help get more pucks in the net more than the return of their 6-foot, 185-pound center. Lightning captain, Steven Stamkos, is reportedly inching his way closer to returning to play. Head Coach, Jon Cooper, however, wasn’t ready to decide on whether Stamkos will play tonight.
#tblightning Jon Cooper said a lot of people are in on the decision whether Steven Stamkos will play, including Stamkos. Didn't provide update on whether he'd play tonight
— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithTB) September 21, 2020
Stamkos, who led the Lightning in goals in 2019 with 45, could be key to a bounce-back victory in game 2. But, for now, his status remains unknown.
As for Dallas, their improbable run continues tonight as they look to take a commanding 2-0 series lead. The aggression shown in Game 1 was key to victory and a big reason why the team scored four goals. Head Coach Rick Bowness says continuing this aggressive style of play will lead to success.
Bowness emphasized the importance of limiting turnovers and self-inflicted errors if they would like a repeat performance of Saturday’s victory. He added that face-offs and puck management in the neutral zone and at both blue lines will be key in gaining the edge.
23-year-old winger Roope Hintz will play tonight for Dallas, but the stars will be without center Radek Faksa and defenseman Stephen Johns. Both Johns and Faksa did not play in Game 1.
Former Lightning and current Stars Goalkeeper Ben Bishop, who has been out since Aug. 31, is also still unfit to play tonight.
Injuries often become a factor late in the postseason, but both teams will have to step up for injured players if they want a victory in Game 2.
Catch the action tonight at 8:00 p.m. on NBCSN.