This article is part of our FanDuel NHL series.
Saturday's NHL slate consists of the one-game contest for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Stars and Lightning at 7:30 p.m. EDT. Below, you'll find suggested options for crafting an effective lineup.
The Lightning are the favorites, but Dallas is basically a much better version of the Islanders team that just pushed Tampa Bay to six games in the Eastern Conference final. Like New York, Dallas tries to muck up the game by clogging up the neutral zone while relying on balanced offensive contributions and a hot Russian goalie. However, the Stars have shown considerably more attacking aptitude and ability to crash the crease while the Islanders relied on a lucky draw and opposing No. 1 centers getting injured to carry them. Case in point, Tampa Bay went 4-0 in the last round when Brayden Point suited up and 0-2 when he didn't.
Jamie Benn ($15,000) is the Stars' hottest player heading into this series, as he racked up a 3-1-4 line and 13 shots in the last three games against Vegas, capping that series with a three-game goal streak. Defenseman Miro Heiskanen (5-17-22) is the only Stars player with more points than Benn (8-10-18) this postseason.
Anthony Cirelli's ($8,000) riding high after scoring the Game 6 overtime winner to get his team into the Stanley Cup Finals. The second-line center is the only Lightning forward to light the lamp in the team's last two games and has the added upside of a possible move up to the top line if Point's recent injuries flare up again.
Joel Kiviranta ($7,000) usually saves his best hockey for closing time, but perhaps the dynamic rookie will get going earlier in this series. He scored a hat trick for the Stars — including the overtime winner — in Game 7 against Colorado, and Kiviranta added a power-play goal in the final minutes of the Game 5 closeout of Vegas to force overtime in that one. His clutch gene and usage with the extra man make Kiviranta an intriguing low-cost choice.
FORWARD LINE STACKS
Lightning vs. Stars
Riding Tampa Bay's top line has been a successful strategy all postseason, and there's little reason to get away from that now. Kucherov is the postseason points leader with 26 in 19 games, while Point is just one point behind his linemate despite missing two games. The latter is also tied with defenseman Victor Hedman for the team playoff goals lead at nine, while Kucherov's three back. Palat's just one goal back of the team lead, and all eight of his tallies have come in the past 10 games.
Stars at Lightning
This second line has provided the best bang for the buck on the Stars this postseason, and that's unlikely to change now. Pavelski and Gurianov are tied for the team playoff lead with nine goals apiece, and the Russian winger's just one point back of Benn's 18 for the lead among Dallas forwards. Janmark's more of a cheap filler at just $500 above the minimum price, having chipped in a modest five helpers in 20 playoff contests.
Victor Hedman ($12,500) is arguably the Lightning's most important player, and his strong finish to the series against the Islanders is the reason Tampa Bay was able to advance, as the forwards looked ready to add to the team's extensive list of postseason choke jobs. Tampa Bay scored only three goals between the double overtime loss in Game 5 and the overtime win in Game 6, and Hedman potted two of them while tying for the team lead with eight shots over that span.
Miro Heiskanen ($9,500) is a bargain considering he leads the Stars in points with a 5-17-22 line in 21 games this postseason. He slowed down against Vegas but was undoubtedly the Stars' best player in each of the first two rounds.
Ryan McDonagh ($7,000) won't carry your team on offense, but he's a rock in the defensive zone and spends significant time on the ice with the Lightning's skilled forwards. In six games against the Islanders, McDonagh had a 1-1-2 line, seven shots and 14 blocks while skating 21 minutes per game.