Lightning Cruise to Game One Victory
The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Montreal Canadiens in Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals Monday in Tampa, Florida, 5-1.
Both teams were extremely physical from the start and set the tone for an incredible final round of the playoffs. The Lightning will be looking to win back-to-back finals, while the Canadiens will hope to become the first Canadian-based team to win the Stanley Cup.
Looking Ahead to Game Two
The Canadiens will be dealing with a 1-0 deficit for the second consecutive series and will be comfortable playing from behind, having won four of five games against the Las Vegas Golden Knights in the previous round after dropping the opener.
Montreal has the identity of an underdog, finishing the regular season 24-21, and performs best without expectations. Tyler Toffoli and Nick Suzuki lead the team in goals and assists these playoffs but were rendered useless in the Game One box score.
Meanwhile, Tampa Bay is no stranger to the burden of expectation; they are the defending champions, went 36-17 this season, and have looked like the best team in hockey throughout the postseason.
Kucherov has an astonishing 23 assists to go with seven goals in the 2021 playoffs, while center Brayden Point leads the team with 14 goals.
Vasilevskiy is considered to be the best goalie in hockey and has not allowed more than four goals in regulation, and has maintained four shutouts this postseason.
The Lightning was`1 sixth in goals allowed and eighth in goals scored and have continued to play with excellent balance, notching a playoff goal differential of +25 through Game One.
According to FanDuel, the Lightning will enter Game Two as -1.5 (+132) favorites at home, and the Canadiens will be +1.5 (-160) underdogs on the road. Tampa Bay is also +220 on the money line, while Montreal is +184.
Based on these numbers, the oddsmakers view the Lightning as the better team and expect them to win but have shown respect to the Canadiens’ upset potential with their odds on the spread.
The over/under has been set at 5.5, with +138 odds on the over and -170 on the under, despite Game One going over.
The Lightning should be expected to win a close game in Tampa Wednesday night; the Canadiens could play spoiler as they have before, and the Lightning could explode for eight goals like they did against the New York Islanders, but look for the favorites to take a close game in the under.
Nothing is a guarantee with these two foes, so hedging the money line could be beneficial— still, it is hard to deny the overwhelming ability of the Lightning.