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3 Keys: Lightning vs. Stars, Game 4 of Stanley Cup Final - NHL.com

3 Keys: Lightning vs. Stars, Game 4 of Stanley Cup Final - NHL.com
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Steven Stamkos will not be in the lineup for the Tampa Bay Lightning when they play the Dallas Stars in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Friday.

"We haven t ruled him out for the series but he s not going to play tonight," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said.

Stamkos made his postseason debut in Game 3 on Wednesday and scored a goal in Tampa Bay s 5-2 win. He played five shifts totaling 2:47 of ice time and didn t play in the final 46:18 of the game, though he remained on the bench for most of the second period and all of the third.

The Lightning have won the past two games after losing Game 1, 4-1.

Teams that have a 2-1 lead in a best-of-7 Cup Final (since 1939) are 42-11 (79.3 percent) winning the series. The Lightning were ahead 2-1 in the 2015 Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks and lost the next three games to lose the series.

"While we prepare today it s a little bit different just because we ve been through it before," Lightning forward Alex Killorn said. "It s the same type of situation. I don t know if our team is playing the exact same way. I like the way our team is playing, and we just want to keep rolling."

The Stars are the only team this postseason to win a best-of-7 series after trailing 2-1. They won Games 4, 5 and 6 against the Calgary Flames in the Western Conference First Round.

Here are 3 keys for Game 4:

The Stars have no goals from their top line in the series.Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn each have no points and eight shots on goal. Alexander Radulov has no goals, three assists and took two hooking penalties in Game 3, one that led to a power-play goal against.

The Lightning are getting production from their top players including defensemanVictor Hedman (one goal, four assists), and forwardsNikita Kucherov (one goal, three assists), Brayden Point (two goals, one assist) and Ondrej Palat (two goals, one assist).

The Lightning have scored eight goals in their past two games because they ve penetrated the Stars defensive structure and created some chaos around Dallas goalie Anton Khudobin, forcing him to work to see the shots.

Khudobin was reading and reacting well in Game 1, a reason why he seemed to be a step ahead of the Lightning shooters. The more the Lightning make Khudobin work, the better their chances are of continuing to score.

"The key is just making it busy down there," Cooper said. "You re hoping that moving goalies have holes."

The Lightning have worked the puck around and found openings to score three power-play goals in the past two games. The Stars scored one power-play goal on 12 shots in Game 2, but they were 0-for-4 with seven shots in Game 3.

Another problem for the Stars is they ve taken consecutive penalties that have resulted in their top players being off the ice and allowed the Lightning to generate on the power play.
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