Tampa Bay Lightning (32-15-5) at Dallas Stars (23-19-8)
|Date & Time||Thursday February 5, 2015, 8:30 PM (EST)|
The Line: Dallas Stars +100 / Tampa Bay Lightning -110 --- Over/Under: 5.5
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The Lightning look to stay atop the Atlantic division with a road win in Dallas on Thursday while the Stars look to jump back into the playoff picture in the Western Conference.
The Lightning look to continue their impressive season with a road win in Dallas on Thursday night and stay atop the division in the process but they know against a Stars team that needs every win from here on out it could prove to be a tougher task than expected. Tampa Bay has been excellent offensively this season and lead the league in total goals in what has been a nicely balanced group that is led by Steven Stamkos but has been so much more than that this season which is a huge positive for the team heading into the playoffs as they have a ton of guys who can score the puck. Tampa has struggled on the road though sitting with an 11-11-4 mark which is their only blemish on their resume and if they get into a situation in the playoffs where they need to win on the road it might be tough to have a ton of confidence in them to do so if they haven't proven on a large size that they are mediocre at best when playing outside of Tampa Bay. Ben Bishop gets the start as he will go up against Kari Lehtonen.
The Stars are right in the mix in the Western Conference wild card race and despite sitting in the basement of the Central division they are just seven points out of fourth and 10 back of third so by no means are they out of it and a nice stretch here could land them in the postseason. Dallas has had a tough go this season based on preseason expectations as many pegged them to be in the running to win the Central division but a slow start defensively has them trying to rebound late in the season and while it does put pressure on them to treat every game like a playoff scenario that can be incredibly taxing over a two month period and may cause the team to burn out towards the end. However, I think this is a great spot at home for the Stars as they have had some time off to prepare for this game both mentally and physically and catch a Lightning team who has struggled on the road so if there is any shot at these teams being close to even it is here and I think Dallas can pull through and get a much needed victory.