The Tampa Bay Lightning continue their bid to repeat as Stanley Cup champions on Monday evening. The Lightning host the Montreal Canadiens in Game 1 of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final, with the teams clashing at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla.. Tampa Bay outlasted the New York Islanders in the previous round, with Montreal upsetting the Las Vegas Golden Knights. The Canadiens look to break a 28-year drought between titles and they enter in an underdog role.
William Hill Sportsbook lists Tampa Bay as the -200 home favorite (risk $200 to win $100) for this 8 p.m. ET puck drop. The total number of goals Vegas thinks will be scored, or the over-under, is five in the latest Canadiens vs. Lightning odds. Before making any Lightning vs. Canadiens picks and or 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 173-112 in his last 285 NHL picks, returning $1,850 for the $100 bettor. You must check out what he has to say about Game 1.
Now, Severance has set his sights on Canadiens vs Lightning. You can head to SportsLine to see his picks. Now, here are several NHL betting lines and trends for Lightning vs Canadiens:
- Canadiens vs. Lightning money line: Lightning -210, Canadiens +180
- Canadiens vs. Lightning over-under: 5 goals
- Canadiens vs. Lightning spread: Lightning -1.5 (+150)
- MON: The Canadiens are 18-12-7 on the road this season
- TB: The Lightning are 27-10 at home this season
Why the Canadiens can win
Montreal has embraced the underdog moniker, reaching the finals despite its No. 16 ranking before the playoffs. The Canadiens lost their final five games of the regular season, then fell behind 3-1 against the Toronto Maple Leafs in round one, but they've caught fire with a 13-2 record since that point.
Montreal is the NHL's all-time winningest franchise, but this year's team is special in a number of areas. The Canadiens have been electric in terms of defense and goal prevention, including a sparkling 11-0 record in the postseason when they score at least two goals. Goalie Carey Price has been a star in the playoffs, allowing 2.02 goals per game and saving 93.4 percent of attempted shots.
As a whole, Montreal's penalty killing has been elite in the postseason, stopping power plays at a 93.5 percent clip. They have also limited top scorers from the opposition, and the Canadiens haven't allowed a power play goal in 13-straight postseason games, an NHL record. Offensively, Montreal doesn't have the firepower that Tampa Bay brings, but the Canadiens have a balanced attack and 20-year-old rookie forward Cole Caufield is breaking out with four goals in the previous series against Las Vegas.
Why the Lightning can win
Tampa Bay is the clear favorite, both in Game 1 and in the series. The Lightning were a top-five team in myriad categories during the regular season, including power-play effectiveness, penalty-kill rate, goals scored and goals against. In the playoffs, that success has continued with the No. 1 goal differential in the NHL, and they are looking to become just the ninth repeat champion in league history. The Lightning are an impressive 14-0 after a loss across the last two postseasons, and they are a top-two team in the NHL in both goals scored (3.22 per game) and goals allowed (2.06 per game) in the playoffs.
Tampa Bay also benefits not only from home-ice advantage but also from an interesting personnel development for Montreal. Canadiens forward Joel Armia just cleared the NHL's COVID-19 protocol and is a game-time decision as he rushes to Tampa Bay for the puck drop. Still, the Lightning are the superior team on paper even with Armia on the ice for Montreal, especially if goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy continues to allow fewer than two goals per game as he has during the team's postseason run.
How to make Canadiens vs. Lightning 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 1 of the 2021 Stanley Cup Finals. You can see his Stanley Cup Finals 2021 expert picks only on SportsLine.
So who wins Canadiens vs. Lightning? 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 Monday, all from the expert that has crushed his NHL picks, and find out.