The Montreal Canadiens aim to avoid elimination from the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Monday evening. Montreal entered the 2021 Stanley Cup Final looking to snap a 28-year drought between NHL titles, but the Canadiens have struggled. Montreal fell short by a 6-3 margin against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday. With that loss, the Canadiens now trail 3-0 in the series, as the Lightning have the chance to secure back-to-back titles when they take the ice for Game 4 on Monday.
The puck is set to drop at 8 p.m. ET in Montreal. The latest Lightning vs. Canadiens odds from William Hill Sportsbook list Tampa Bay as the -160 favorite (risk $160 to win $100) on the money line, while Montreal is the +140 underdog. The over-under for total goals expected is set at five. Before making any Canadiens vs. Lightning picks or 2021 Stanley Cup Final predictions, you need to see what SportsLine NHL expert Matt Severance has to say.
Severance is a well-connected writer and handicapper who has worked in the industry since 2005. He is a whopping 150-94 in his last 244 NHL picks, returning more than $1,900 for the $100 bettor.
- Lightning vs. Canadiens money line: Lightning -160, Canadiens +140
- Lightning vs. Canadiens over-under: 5 goals (over -135, under +115)
- Lightning vs. Canadiens spread: Lightning -1.5 (+165)
- Tampa Bay: The Lightning are 7-3 on the road during the playoffs
- Montreal: The Canadiens are 5-4 at home during the playoffs
Why the Lightning can win
Tampa Bay has been thoroughly dominant in the series. The Lightning have out-scored the Canadiens by a full three goals per game and, even in their least effective defensive performance in Game 3, they were able to produce six goals. The Lightning are the reigning Stanley Cup champions for a reason and, as they look to become just the ninth repeat champion in NHL history, they can draw on their overall talent level and baseline for success.
Tampa Bay finished as a top-five team in the NHL in goals, power-play percentage, goals against and penalty-kill percentage during the regular season, and the Lightning are No. 1 in goal differential during the playoffs. They have overwhelming offensive talent, headlined by Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point and Steven Stamkos, and Tampa Bay also has a red-hot goalie in Andrei Vasilevskiy. He is allowing only 1.94 goals per game in the postseason, with a league-leading four shutouts and an elite save percentage of 93.8 percent.
Why the Canadiens can win
Montreal is in a difficult spot, but that is nothing new for this team. The Canadiens came back from a 3-1 deficit in the first round against a more talented Toronto team, and they had the worst regular-season record of any playoff team, losing their final five games in the regular season. Montreal is the NHL’s all-time winningest franchise and, if the Canadiens are able to score effectively, their defense should be able to do the rest.
The Canadiens are an impressive 11-1 in the playoffs when scoring at least two goals, and they have a balanced offense with myriad players capable of scoring at any moment. Carey Price, Montreal’s 33-year-old goalie, has struggled in the series, but he has an impressive pedigree dating back to the previous rounds. From there, Montreal’s penalty kill unit has been the best in playoffs at 90.6 percent, and they also lead the entire postseason by a wide margin with four short-handed goals.
How to make Lightning vs. Canadiens picks
Severance is going under on total goals scored. He’s also found an x-factor that has him jumping all over one side of the money line in Game 4 of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final. You can see his Stanley Cup Final 2021 picks only on SportsLine.
So who wins Lightning vs. Canadiens? And what x-factor makes one side of the money line a huge value? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the Lightning vs. Canadiens matchup you need to jump on Monday, all from the expert that has crushed his NHL picks, and find out.