The Montreal Canadiens haven't won the Stanley Cup since 1993, when they defeated the Los Angeles Kings for their 24th NHL championship. They'll have to pull off an amazing feat if they hope to capture another crown, as only the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs have come back from an 0-3 deficit in the Stanley Cup Final to win the trophy. After having avoided being swept, the Canadiens look to take another step toward history when they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday for Game 5 of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final. While Montreal is working toward becoming the fifth team in NHL history to overcome an 0-3 playoff deficit, Tampa Bay is one win away from its second consecutive Stanley Cup championship and the third in franchise history.
The puck is set to drop at 8 p.m. ET at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla. The latest Lightning vs. Canadiens odds from William Hill Sportsbook list Tampa Bay as the -250 favorite (risk $250 to win $100), while Montreal is the +220 underdog. The over-under for total goals scored is 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 150-95 in his last 245 NHL picks, returning almost $1,800 for the $100 bettor.
- Lightning vs. Canadiens moneyline: Tampa Bay -250, Montreal +220
- Lightning vs. Canadiens over-under: 5 goals
- Lightning vs. Canadiens spread: Tampa Bay -1.5 (+110)
- TB: Four of the Lightning's seven losses this postseason have come in overtime
- MON: Montreal overcame a 3-1 series deficit against Toronto in the first round
Why the Lightning can win
Montreal's task at hand is difficult enough, but Tampa Bay's postseason history makes it that much harder. The Lightning have never lost a playoff series in which they owned a 3-0 or 3-1 lead, winning all 14 while never being taken to a seventh game. Tampa Bay also has demonstrated the ability to bounce back, going 6-0 after a loss in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs and 13-0 over the last two postseasons.
Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow have notched a point in each game of the series thus far, while Nikita Kucherov is on the verge of being the top scorer for the second-straight postseason, as he leads all players with 32 points. The 28-year-old Russian, who notched 34 points in last year's playoffs, will become the first player to accomplish the feat since Mario Lemieux (1991-92). Kucherov also is the playoff leader with 24 assists and is tied with Wayne Gretzky (66 from 1985-86) for the fifth-highest points total over two consecutive postseasons.
Why the Canadiens can win
Facing a 3-1 series deficit is not a situation they really want to be in, but going to overtime again in Game 5 would not be a horrible thing for the Canadiens. The club has needed extra time seven times thus far this postseason, emerging victorious on six occasions, while Tampa Bay is 0-4 in such contests. Josh Anderson is becoming a folk hero in Montreal, as he has two overtime winners among his five playoff tallies -- making him the eighth player in franchise history to score multiple OT goals in one postseason.
Anderson posted his second two-goal performance of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs in Game 4, with his first tally giving Montreal its first lead of the series. Nick Suzuki notched an assist on the goal for his team-high 16th point of the postseason, while defenseman Alexander Romanov made a big impression in a rare appearance. The 21-year-old Russian, who played in only two of the Canadiens' first 20 playoff games, scored his first career postseason goal less than nine minutes into the third period to give the club a 2-1 lead.
How to make Lightning vs. Canadiens picks
Severance is leaning 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 5 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 Canadiens vs. Lightning matchup you need to jump on Wednesday, all from the expert who has crushed his NHL picks, and find out.