Despite the pandemic, the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning have battled their way to make the Stanley Cup Final. The series starts Monday night in Tampa Bay, so here’s our 2021 Stanley Cup Finals prediction for the Montreal Canadiens vs Tampa Bay Lightning series. There are plenty of storylines in this Stanley Cup Final. Can the Montreal Canadiens pull off yet another upset? Or will the Tampa Bay Lightning repeat as Stanley Cup Champions?
Montreal Canadiens vs Tampa Bay Lightning Prediction
The Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning present a true study of contrasts.
Montreal can literally slow the game down to an almost zero pace, while Tampa Bay wants to push the pace with speed through the neutral zone.
That helps us predict the even-strength battle which will partially shape this series.
The other part of the equation will be special teams. This could be a major series-changer.
Montreal carries the best penalty kill going into the final round at 93.5%. Tampa Bay has the best power-play left at 37.7%. Will Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens be able to turn back Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, Victor Hedman, and the Lightning man advantage?
Montreal’s trio of young players (Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Nick Suzuki, and Cole Caufield) will inject life into this series but Tampa Bay’s scoring depth and balance may be too much. The series favors Tampa Bay in a close battle and potentially long series.
Currently, BetMGM provides the best Lightning odds available, making them a (-250) favorite to win the series against the Canadiens.
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Montreal Canadiens Keys To Win
Montreal can win this series if it continues to keep killing penalties the way it has. Carey Price has stopped nearly 95% of all shots on the man disadvantage. Players like Paul Byron and Joel Armia are vital to this effort along with defensemen Shea Weber and Jeff Petry.
Combine that with their youth producing on a big stage, and Montreal is a dangerous team to face. Finally, their team defense has been grossly underestimated along with their transition game. The Lightning will lose if they fall into the same trap.
Tampa Bay Lightning Keys To Win
Tampa Bay wins the series if their lineup is as healthy as possible and producing. The broken ribs of Nikita Kucherov will be a huge focus, but the fact that Erik Cernak played nearly 20 minutes in Game 7 against New York is significant.
The Lightning has the advantage in forward depth along with one of the best power plays in the league. They must draw penalties and execute early. The more confidence Tampa gives Montreal, the longer the series will be.
Andrei Vasilevskiy will have to outplay Carey Price. Tampa Bay must continue to display its versatility in playing styles if it expects to win.
Canadiens vs Lightning Final Pick
Both teams have stared elimination in the face. Montreal came back from three games to one down against Toronto to win in seven games. The Tampa Bay Lightning fended off a tough New York Islanders team in a brutal seventh game on Friday night.
How does Montreal contain Tampa Bay’s scoring punch? Brayden Point could not be contained even by the New York Islanders and has 14 goals this playoff on just 43 shots. The counterpoint is will Tampa Bay be able to slow down Montreal’s transition game and the youth of Suzuki and Caufield in particular?
In the end, the series of contrasting styles favor Tampa Bay albeit slightly. The Lightning has been here before and has won the ultimate prize. Tampa Bay wins this series in seven hard-fought games as the Lightning fight off a hungry Montreal team who will surprise many.
Tampa Bay Lightning in 7 games
2021 Stanley Cup Finals Bet Pick: Tampa Bay Lightning to win series (-250) at
2021 Stanley Cup Finals Schedule (Canadiens vs Lightning)
Game 1: Monday, June 28, 8:00 p.m. ET (NBCSN, Peacock)
Game 2: Wednesday, June 30, 8:00 p.m. ET (NBCSN, Peacock)
Game 3: Friday, July 2, 8:00 p.m. ET (NBC, Peacock)
Game 4: Monday, July 5, 8:00 p.m. ET (NBC, Peacock)
*Game 5: Wednesday, July 7, 8;00 p.m. ET (NBC, Peacock)
*Game 6: Friday, July 9, 8:00 p.m. ET (NBC, Peacock)
*Game 7: Sunday, July 11, 7:00 p.m. ET (NBC, Peacock)
* if necessary