The Tampa Bay Lightning are looking to become the second team this century to repeat as Stanley Cup champions, and with a 2-0 series lead over the Montreal Canadiens, they’re in great shape to accomplish that feat. It’s the first time ever the Lighting lead a Stanley Cup Final 2-0. Eleven other teams have jumped to a 2-0 lead in the past 20 years, with nine of them hoisting the trophy.
The 2021 Stanley Cup Final shifts to Montreal’s Bell Centre for Friday’s Game 3, which gets underway at 8 p.m. ET. William Hill Sportsbook lists Tampa Bay as a -135 road favorite (risk $135 to win $100) in its latest Lightning vs. Canadiens odds, with an over-under goal total of five. Before you make any Canadiens vs. Lightning picks or any other NHL 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 175-114 in his last 289 NHL picks, returning $1,735 for the $100 bettor overall and $1,851 on money line selections. You need to check out what he has to say about Game 3 of the 2021 Stanley Cup Finals.
- Lightning vs. Canadiens money line: Tampa Bay -135, Montreal +115
- Lightning vs Canadiens over-under: 5 goals
- Lightning vs. Canadiens spread: Tampa Bay -1.5 (+205)
- TB: The Lightning are 6-1 in their last 7 Stanley Cup Finals games
- MON: The Canadiens are 5-1 in their last 6 home games
Why the Lightning can win
In the first round of the 2021 NHL Playoffs, Tampa Bay beat the Florida Panthers, who finished the regular season with 79 points and second place in the Central Division. In the second round, the Lightning beat the Carolina Hurricanes, who finished with 80 points and won the Central. In the last round, Tampa Bay eliminated the New York Islanders, who finished with 71 points. The Canadiens were the worst of the 16 playoff teams via regular-season numbers with just 59 points and a minus-9 goal differential.
Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy was the betting favorite to win the Vezina Trophy as top goaltender in the regular season. He didn’t win it but has been easily the best goalie in the playoffs after stopping 42 shots in Game 2. The Russian has now allowed one goal or fewer in four of his past five games. The Lightning also won Game 2 by multiple goals despite not receiving a point from their three biggest stars: Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point. Tampa Bay is 69-32 in its last 101 after allowing two goals or fewer in its previous game.
Why the Canadiens can win
Montreal was vastly outplayed in Game 1 but looked like a different team in the Game 2 loss. The Canadiens outshot the Lightning 43-23, won more face-offs, were better on the power play and had fewer giveaways. Nick Suzuki had the lone goal to become just the third player in Canadiens history to score 10 career playoff goals before his 22nd birthday, joining Claude Lemieux (14) and Stephane Richer (14).
Returning home can only help the Canadiens’ cause as they will get the last line change, which potentially can help slow that dynamic Tampa Bay offense. In addition, interim head coach Dominique Ducharme will rejoin the club. He had been isolating for two weeks due to a positive COVID test. The Canadiens are trailing 2-0 in a Stanley Cup Final best-of-7 series for the fifth time in franchise history. They have come back to win the Cup twice and also rallied from down 3-1 in the first round of these playoffs. The Habs are 4-1 in their last five after scoring two goals or less in their previous game.
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 3 of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final. You can see his Stanley Cup Final 2021 expert 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 Friday, all from the expert that has crushed his NHL picks, and find out.