Tampa Bay Lightning vs Montreal Canadiens Game 3 Picks, Odds NHL Final

  • Is it over or are we just getting started?
  • Tampa is readying the final nail
  • Believe it or not, Montreal is on the right track

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Tampa Bay Lightning vs Montreal Canadiens Odds

Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook.

Team Odds
Tampa Bay -136
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Montreal +117
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Tampa Bay Lightning vs Montreal Canadiens Predictions and Picks

We’re not sugarcoating anything heading into game three. The Montreal Canadiens look like a defeated bunch on paper. They trail the series 2-0 with only two goals in this series and if you’re thinking home ice advantage will help, the Habs are still only allowed to have 3,500 people in attendance due to COVID measures. However, what they do have going in their favor, is that they managed to get 43 shots on Andrey Vasilevskiy last game. Despite the loss, that’s at least a step in the right direction.

Our Pick

We’ve gone two for two in this Stanley Cup Final with a pair of very obvious picks. We went with the Tampa Bay Lightning twice. While our record looks nice, the payouts have been pretty low considering they’ve been favored heavily. Things will be different in game three though. We’re still not absolutely sold on Montreal to win, but we do like one certain bet – the OVER. Right now, DraftKings has the O-U set at 5 and we like the odds for a high scoring affair given Montreal’s found a way to get the rubber into the paint.

The best odds for this match

Odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook

How to Watch Tampa Bay Lightning vs Montreal Canadiens

Tampa Bay Lightning vs Montreal Canadiens Game Information
Who Tampa Bay vs Montreal
Where Bell Centre, Montreal, QC
When July 2, 2021 8:00 pm EST
How to watch NBC Sports, Sportsnet

The Tampa Bay Lightning have the Montreal Canadiens right where they want them. They did what they had to do at home and head up to Canada leading the series 2-0. However, the Habs have had a never say die attitude throughout their whole improbable playoff run and this game will tell us everything we need to know about this group of cardiac kids. If Montreal can strike and get back into this series, it could be anyone’s game from here on out and this thing could even go the distance.

There’s that very exciting possibility or there’s the slightly more probable one, where Tampa wins and ends up sweeping the series. For the average and hardcore hockey fan’s sake, we hope we get a barnburner here and a long 2021 Stanley Cup Final.

Tampa Bay Can Lay the Hammer Down

The Lightning have shown quite a bit of power in this series, but you could see a few weaknesses in game two that may be exposed heavily on Friday night. Tampa Bay absolutely suffocated the Habs in game one allowing only 19 shots on goal. The Habs were helpless and with their time of position limited, the Lightning capitalized heavily at the other end. Wednesday night was a different story. The Bolts got a lucky insurance mark that secured their win. That’s it.

Montreal made them work for it all game long and proved that they can get shots through. Andrey Vasilevskiy was his usual incredible self for the Bolts, but one bad bounce and it’s a whole new game/series. Now, with that said, what has to be done for the blue and white to deliver the final blow?

Tampa Bay needs to get back to their transition game. The Lightning are one of the best end-to-end teams in hockey and their speed has been unmatched throughout these playoffs. It’s what’s been their secret dagger all year and with five of the league’s top six scorers right now in their starting lineup, it’s obvious that they need to ride what’s been working for them. To that end, though, they need to start eliminating the Habs second chances. They need to box out and fast to limit any extra opportunities for these pesky Canadiens. One bad bounce, one bad stick, one bad defensive lapse could mean all the difference.

Montreal Must Stay Hungry

These Canadiens were not an impressive team in the regular season. They barely made the playoffs in a pretty weak division and looked all but gone against Toronto in round one. Then their defensive game changed. They overcame a 3-1 series deficit to win, which then led to a semifinal sweep, then a huge win over Vegas, and now they have another hill to climb. We’ve said it over and over, these Habs never say die. If they lose Friday night though, it could definitely be curtains very soon for Montreal.

What’s kept them alive through these overpowering series falters (and wins) has been their defensive play. Their penalty kill has been the best in the league by a landslide. Carey Price has been excellent when tested and their resilience has shone through as a result. They’ve found a way to generate offense even though they’ve generally been the slower and less statistically skilled bunch. This will be their biggest test yet, but it could also be their biggest triumph.

They’ll need to find that extra gear once again and capitalize on their added chances. Going from 19 to 43 shots in two games is a massive jump and we were very impressed by Montreal on Wednesday night. When you run into a hot goalie though, you run into a hot goalie. Plain and simple. Vasilevskiy was excellent and there wasn’t much the Habs could do. If they keep pelting the Bolts netminder though, they will get the breaks they need and their track record has proven that true time and time again. It’s likely why, at the time of the writing of this article, the Habs are getting 56% of the bets.

Checking the Trends

Tampa Bay has won 25 of their last 35 playoff games as favorites. The Canadiens are 5-1 through their last six at the Bell Centre. Head-to-head, the home team has won four of the last five games.

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Ryan Sullivan

Expert on Hockey

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.