Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook.
The good news for bettors is that Montreal is now paying much better than before. The bad news for bettors is that there’s no sure thing in sports. Montreal has proven time and time again that they love being the underdog. They excel when being counted out, so they’re feeling alright at the moment. If they drop down 2-0 though, we’ll have a different story on our hands. While Montreal has come back from as much as a 3-1 deficit in these playoffs, a 2-0 bagel is a big hole to climb out of. Especially against a team like the cup favored Tampa Bay Lightning.
These tenacious Habs have proved us wrong a few times before, but this just feels a little different. Montreal was smacked on the scoreboard and the rink over and over in game one and showed little resilience. Tampa Bay was the dominant team by a landslide and even shattered Montreal’s impressive penalty kill streak.
The Canadiens hadn’t allowed a goal while shorthanded since the opening series of these playoffs. The Bolts took care of that late in the third. Now, with all of that said, where does the smart money lie? We’re thinking it sits with Tampa Bay. Had the Habs shown a few signs of life late, we’d say maybe things could be different, but the Bolts just kept laying it on.
Once this series goes back to Canada, we may be singing a very different song. Come Wednesday night though, we like the Bolts to take a commanding 2-0 series lead.
The best odds for this match
Odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook
|Montreal Canadiens vs Tampa Bay Lightning Information|
|Teams||Montreal vs Tampa Bay|
|Location||Amalie Arena, Tampa, Florida|
|Time||June 30, 2021 8:00pm EST|
|How to watch||NBC Sports, Sportsnet|
The good news for Montreal is that they will now have a well-rested Joel Armia back in their lineup. Armia exited COVID-19 protocol on Monday and took a private jet to Tampa Bay in hopes of being a game-time decision. Sadly, though, he was left off the roster and Jake Evans checked in. That won’t be the case in game two. The Habs’ fourth-leading scorer in these playoffs will be back in the lineup which should give them a nice boost, but will it be enough?
This team has shown the world repeatedly that we should not walk out on the 2021 Montreal Canadiens. They’ve come back from being down 3-1 to Toronto in the quarters. They were underdogs in round two and ended up sweeping Winnipeg. They were then dropped in game one by the Golden Knights and clawed back to advance yet again. Being counted out by the masses feels like home for these Habs.
With that said, they’re playing a Tampa Bay team with an absolute killer instinct. You may not have thought it consistently based on that Islanders series just a few days ago, but Tampa Bay is listed as the cup favorite for a reason. Make that – many reasons.
They have 19 more Goals For than Montreal. They’re averaging 0.33 less Goals Against per. Their power-play percentage is 37.5% to the Canadiens’ 20.0% and they also have five of the league’s top six scorers on their roster. So, yes, the Tampa Bay Lightning have been pretty good in these playoffs.
Does that mean Montreal is toast though? Nope. Far from it. For the Habs to escape Florida with a tied series though, they’ll have to start peppering Andrey Vasilevskiy a heck of a lot more. 19 shots just won’t cut it moving forward. He’ll need to be tested constantly.
These Bolts have built quite the postseason resume as you likely read just two paragraphs ago. They’re as sharp as can be at 7-3 on their own ice and have shown opponents that their home rink is one of the toughest places to play in the game. They’re impressive through and through, but will it be enough to head to Montreal up 2-0?
Well, to pull it off they’ll need to continue the three things that worked best for them in-game one – quick shots, screens, and tips. Sure, you could make this argument for any and every team out there. If they could get all three of these things working for them, they’d probably win too. At this point though, there’s no time for tinkering. If something works, you keep riding that horse till it bucks you and for the Bolts, the key has been redirection and misdirection.
As we saw from a few Carey Price saves, this guy is world-class between the pipes. However, there are some weaknesses there and it comes with traffic in front and redirections. Erik Cernak opened the scoring with a great tip almost seven minutes in. His crafty stick work was then followed by a little Yanni Gourde misdirection, an Ondrej Palat tip attempt (Kucherov’s first goal), and a few quick shots from Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos. The Bolts need to keep their sticks up, their bodies in the way, and the speed turned up to 11.
Montreal has won six of their last eight road games. The Lightning have won five of their last six Stanley Cup Final games. Montreal has lost their last seven games in Tampa overall.
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Ryan has worked as a sports writer for the past decade and sports journalism for almost 15 years. He has worked in television, radio, print, digital, and podcasting since 2006. He is also the former co-host of the NFL Weekly Pick 'Em and Best Bets Podcast along with the Prop Drop on WSN.com.More info on Ryan Sullivan
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