Teams that win Game 1 of a Stanley Cup Final go on to win the series better than 75 percent of the time (61-20 overall). That's exactly the position the defending NHL champion Tampa Bay Lightning find themselves in entering Game 2 of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday against the Cinderella-story Montreal Canadiens. The puck drops at 8 p.m. ET from Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla. Teams that have taken a 1-0 series lead in the 2021 NHL playoffs have won the series eight of 14 times. The Bolts are 11-2 all-time when taking a 1-0 series lead in a best-of-seven series.
William Hill Sportsbook lists Tampa Bay as a -200 home favorite (risk $200 to win $100) for Game 2, while the over-under for total goals is set at 5 in the latest Lightning vs. Canadiens odds. Before making any Canadiens vs. Lightning picks or any other 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 174-113 in his last 287 NHL picks, returning $1,780 for the $100 bettor overall and $1,851 on moneyline selections. You need to check out what he has to say about Game 2.
Now, Severance has set his sights on Canadiens vs Lightning. You can head to SportsLine now to see his picks. Now, here are several NHL betting lines and trends for Lightning vs. Canadiens:
- Canadiens vs. Lightning money line: Lightning -200, Canadiens +175
- Canadiens vs. Lightning over-under: 5 goals
- Canadiens vs. Lightning spread: Lightning -1.5 (+130)
- MON: The Canadiens are 9-3 in their last 12 playoff games as an underdog
- TB: The Lightning are 48-19 in their last 67 games as a home favorite
Why the Canadiens can win
Montreal lost three-straight games in Games 2-4 of the first round vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs and hasn't lost back-to-back games since. Future Hall of Fame goaltender Carey Price had a rare off game in the 5-1 loss in the Stanley Cup Final opener, his most goals allowed in these playoffs. The previous time he allowed at least four goals, Price went on a five-game run of allowing two goals or fewer. In addition, the Canadiens are 4-0 in their last four after scoring two goals or less in their previous game.
Forward Joel Armia is a game time decision for Wednesday's matchup. He landed in COVID protocols over the weekend and didn't originally travel with the team. Armia is in Tampa now after clearing protocols. He has five goals and three assists this postseason and is an important part of the team's penalty kill. Montreal had killed off 32-straight penalties before allowing a power-play goal late in Game 1.
Why the Lightning can win
Montreal got here on the back of future Hall of Fame goaltender Price, but if he doesn't play out of his mind, the less-talented Canadiens simply can't win this series. The top-four points scorers in the 2021 playoffs are members of the Lightning, as are the top-three goal-scorers. Nikita Kucherov had three points in Game 1 and leads the league with 30 playoff points. Brayden Point had three points as well and is second with 23 points and first with 14 goals.
If one of those two don't win the Conn Smythe Trophy, it will go to goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, who is tops in the NHL with a .936 save percentage and ranks second with a 1.94 goals-against average. He was also arguably the NHL's best regular-season goalie and should win the Vezina Trophy. The Russian hasn't allowed more than three goals in nine-straight playoff games. Tampa Bay is now on a seven-game overall home winning streak vs. Montreal.
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 2 of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final. You can only see his Stanley Cup Final 2021 expert picks 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 Wednesday, all from the expert that has crushed his NHL picks, and find out.