Here is The Game Day’s pregame analysis and prediction for Game 3 of the 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Finals between the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning, which will start at 8 p.m. ET on Friday and air on NBC.
Canadiens vs Lightning Game 3 Prediction: 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Finals Pick
Game 1 and Game 2 were both decisive victories for the Tampa Bay Lightning, who now hold a 2-0 lead in the series. In Game 1, the Lightning rode a pair of Nikita Kucherov goals in the third period to a 5-1 victory. In Game 2, the goaltending work of Andrei Vasilevskiy remained stellar, limiting Montreal to one goal once again.
Will the Canadiens bounce back to win Game 3 at home? Or will the Lightning win again to take a commanding 3-0 series lead? The Game Day breaks it down here in our Game 3 preview.
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Canadiens vs Lightning Game 3 Analysis
The Lightning have looked like the superior team for the first two games of this series and will try to continue that trend as they head to Montreal for Game 3. Meanwhile, leaving Tampa Bay could be exactly what the Canadiens need to get back into this series, as they’ve won five of their last six home games in the playoffs.
Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, and Brayden Point were nearly non-existent in Game 2 from a stat sheet perspective, but the Lightning were still able to get it going offensively and finish with three goals. If that trio can do any kind of damage in Game 3, we could be looking at another victory for Tampa Bay.
Canadiens goalie Carey Price will need to have a better effort on Friday night after allowing eight goals over the first two games. Montreal’s offense will also need to step up after managing just two goals during the first two games.
Montreal Canadiens Keys To Win
- Better goaltending
- Continue applying defensive pressure
- Limit Kucherov, Point, and Stamkos again
- Focus on offensive-zone puck possession
Tampa Bay Lightning Keys To Win
- Don’t step off the gas offensively
- Diversify looks at the net
- Keep the puck in the offensive zone
- Limit power-play opportunities for Montreal
Canadiens vs Lightning Game 3 Prediction
Lightning Win Game 3, 3-2
I strongly believe the Lightning are on their way to sweeping the Canadiens. The move to Montreal could revitalize the Canadiens enough to stick around in this series, but the better team should still prevail. Game 3 will likely be closer than the first two games, but Tampa Bay is just too good for Montreal to stop.
Canadiens vs Lightning Game 3 Bet Pick
Lightning To Win Game 3 On The Moneyline (-135)
The Lightning play such a high-octane style of hockey that the Canadiens are simply not capable of countering defensively. Tampa Bay has also been excellent on the road in these playoffs, going 6-3 away from home. Montreal appears overmatched in this series and will be hard-pressed to stop the bleeding tonight.
As mentioned above, I think this game will be closer than the first two and could end up going to overtime, so I’m playing it safe with the moneyline bet here.