They’re only four games away from etching their names in silver, but it won’t be easy. Their opponents, the Tampa Bay Lightning, are the clear favorites to win it all, and have been since before the playoffs even began. No matter where you look for predictions, odds are the vast majority will predict Tampa Bay to beat Dallas.
But what about our staff? Before we get to our final predictions, let’s revisit how we’ve fared so far:
As you can see, we know what we’re talking about for the most part. Mark and Logan have particularly been exceptionally accurate — one of the two (or both) will take home our fake crown, but I think we all agree that we’d much rather see the Stars take home an actual trophy.
Alright, enough stalling — let’s get to it.
Tampa Bay Lightning (2) vs Dallas Stars (3)
Taylor: First, let’s admire a series featuring hockey in the south on both sides of the bracket. If the league wants to grow the sport, they need matchups like this to hook new fans with new stories — and newly made stars. Someone will make a new legend for themselves this postseason. Dallas proved me wrong each round, and while it feels like they are a team of destiny at this point, I’m not changing what’s been working all postseason long. Lightning in 6.
Robert: This series is gonna be a tight one, for once. The Stars plowed through the West because they are amazing and the other teams were garbage, but Tampa Bay might win a game or two, and the Stars might let ‘em do it out of pity, just to stave off returning to Florida as long as they possibly can. Stars in 6.
Logan: If Mark is picking the Stars to spite my well-known love of the Lightning, well, then that’s his prerogative. All kidding aside, Tampa Bay is a scary-good team. They don’t know the meaning of the word “fear”, they play fun hockey, and it’s clear they enjoy it. However, the Stars are enjoying their own chaotic brand of fun hockey. Tampa Bay roster is young and has several more seasons and chances. Dallas might have just one more shot before the current roster has aged out of their production prime and are in need of a rebuild. As much as I want to see the Lightning lift the Stanley Cup (and banish the specter of their abysmal 2019 playoffs performance), I want to see Anton Khudobin and Tyler Seguin and all the rest absolutely ecstatic. I can’t believe I’m typing this, but... Stars in 6.
Derek: There’s just something special about this Dallas Stars team. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is, but they’ve been able to overcome a lot of adversity this season and reach some pretty incredible highs. Why can’t that happen again? I think Tampa is undoubtedly the more skilled team overall, but the Stars have been great at neutralizing skill these playoffs, as we saw with Colorado and Vegas. The X Factor, though, is going to be goaltending, and Anton Khudobin is going to win that battle and win the Stars the Cup. Stars in 6.
Wes: There’s a theme to Lightning picks. Mostly it’s that they’ve “learned to win” across several years of crushing disappointment. The thing they haven’t done is play a team that puts it all together quite like the Dallas Stars. For Dallas, the recipe remains the same. If they can keep games close, if they can prevent the Lightning from turning the series into a track meet, they have every chance. Miro Heiskanen is going to do something amazing, John Klingberg is a magician, and I would never in a million years stand between Jamie Benn, the way he’s playing right now, and anything he wants. Stars in 7.
Ann: The Stars have killer shot suppression and the best goaltending in the playoffs. Will it help them keep the lazy media narratives at bay? I could pick the Stars to win, but will I survive the embarrassment when some idiot on Twitter continues to go on about how they never should have gotten past the Colorado MacKinnons? I haven’t picked against them yet and I’m sure as heck not gonna do it now. Stars in 5.
Tyler: Tampa Bay was my 2020 Cup pick the minute they were knocked out of last year’s playoffs. Meanwhile I’ve picked against Dallas in six games every single round so far. There’s only one way this can end. Stars in 6.
Rob M: Tampa Bay, like Dallas, is money in one-goal games. The Lightning have had some impressive blowouts, but overall they’ve been played closer than most would think. Make no mistake, the Lightning are unreal. The Stars bring an element that they probably haven’t seen yet. A mobile defense corp that can defend and motor the offense. That could be the difference. Stars in 7.
Mark: If Logan wants to pick the Lightning just to try to end my picks winning streak, that’s her prerogative. If I have to wait 20 more years to pick the Stars as Stanley Cup winners, my mind will be too pickled to be coherent, so I’m riding this to the end. Stars in WHO CARES?
Final Tally: Dallas 8, Tampa Bay 1
Get ready for the Stanley Cup Final by showing your support the best way we know how — through a Red Peg Tee! They have a collection of shirts designed to reflect the quirkiness and fun of the current Stars team, including one of our absolute favorites: