Buckle up for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final.
The Dallas Stars made the game a necessity after taking a must-win on Saturday night. After going down 3-1 in the series, they stormed back to a win on the second half of the back-to-back to extend the last postseason matchup and give us a little more hockey to watch before the league heads off into a very uncertain offseason.
One key to the Stars’ success on Saturday night was the fact that the team managed to limit their trips to the penalty box, a clear diversion from what had been the norm in the previous games in the series. Now, whether that was a result of playing cleaner or not getting caught as much because the referees took a lot of heat for the way they called the game on Friday night is up for debate.
Regardless of how it comes to be, it will be important that the Stars continue to stay out of the penalty box if they want any hope of forcing a Game 7 and a chance to hoist Lord Stanley’s chalice. Dallas is missing a number of key personnel for killing penalties off. Blake Comeau and Radek Faksa, two of the Stars’ top penalty killing forwards, were ruled as “unfit to play” on Sunday, making it unlikely they’ll be in the lineup tonight.
Joining them on that list is Roope Hintz, Ben Bishop, and Stephen Johns. Andrej Sekera, who took a big shot block and missed the second period of Game 5 before coming back to finish the game, will be a game-time decision. The forward injuries have led to some line juggling, with the big three upfront split up. The newly-formed trio of Tyler Seguin, Joel Kiviranta, and Corey Perry provided a speedy, skilled line that worked quite well for Dallas in the last game, with Perry scoring two goals, including the game winner.
On the other side of the ice is a relatively healthy Tampa Bay Lightning. Though captain Steven Stamkos was officially ruled out for the remainder of the Final on Sunday according to head coach Jon Cooper, the rest of their potent offense will be available to wreck havoc on the Stars.
DALLAS STARS LINEUP
With all of the forward injuries, Dallas pulled Justin Dowling into commission on Saturday night. It’s likely that they’ll roll with the same forward lines that got them to the win last game. With Sekera potentially out, it would be safe to assume that Taylor Fedun will take his place if he cannot go, as Fedun had been playing before he got injured in the series with the Colorado Avalanche two rounds ago.
Jamie Benn – Joe Pavelski – Alexander Radulov
Joel Kiviranta – Tyler Seguin – Corey Perry
Mattias Janmark – Justin Dowling – Denis Gurianov
Andrew Cogliano – Jason Dickinson – Nick Caamano
Esa Lindell – John Klingberg
Jamie Oleksiak – Miro Heiskanen
Joel Hanley – Taylor Fedun
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING LINEUP
Ondrej Palat – Brayden Point – Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn – Anthony Cirelli – Tyler Johnson
Barclay Goodrow – Yanni Gourde – Blake Coleman
Patrick Maroon – Cedric Paquette – Carter Verhaeghe
Victor Hedman – Jan Rutta
Ryan McDonagh – Kevin Shattenkirk
Mikhail Sergachev – Erik Cernak