Sep 18, 2020 - Sports

🏒 The Stanley Cup Final is set

Courtesy: NBC Sports

The NHL returned to play on Aug. 1 with 24 teams. Seven weeks later, only two remain.

  • Three days after the Stars punched their ticket to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final, the Lightning did the same with a 2-1 (OT) win over the Islanders.
  • Tampa Bay is seeking its first Stanley Cup since 2004, while Dallas is seeking its first since 1999.

The favorite: The Lightning (-180) fell in the first round last year after a record-tying 62-win season. They were one of the NHL's best teams again this season, led by a high-powered offense and the world's best goalie in Andrei Vasilevskiy.

The underdog: The Stars (+160) were far from a great team this season, scoring fewer goals per game than all but five other teams. Bookmakers didn't give Dallas much of a chance to win the Cup, yet here they are.

By the numbers: The Stars have conceded more goals than they've scored this postseason, something no Stanley Cup winner has done since the 2004-05 lockout. Meanwhile, the Lightning — who have led the NHL in goals scored for three straight seasons — have continued racking up goals in the playoffs.

  • Goals per game: Stars: 2.95 | Lightning: 3.17
  • Goals against: Stars: 3.05 | Lightning: 2.28

Schedule: The NHL staged both conference finals series in the Edmonton bubble, and that will continue through the Stanley Cup Final.

  • Game 1: Tomorrow night (7:30pm ET, NBC)
  • Game 2: Sept. 21
  • Game 3: Sept. 23
  • Game 4: Sept. 25
  • Game 5: Sept. 26
  • Game 6: Sept. 28
  • Game 7: Sept. 30

Wild stat ... In the last 12 years, the only team to win both the Presidents' Trophy (best regular-season record) and Stanley Cup in the same season is the 2012-13 Blackhawks. And since the advent of the Presidents' Trophy in 1985, only eight teams have done it.

  • In other words, the NHL's best regular-season team has won a championship just 23.5% of the time (8-for-34) since "Gremlins" was released in theaters.
  • That streak will stay alive, as the Presidents' Trophy-winning Bruins lost to the Lightning in the second round. Tampa Bay finished the year with the league's second-best record, while the Stars ranked 10th.
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