The 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Final is finally here! Will it be a 24th win for the historic Montreal Canadiens? Or are the Lightning strong enough to take down the prestigious prize for a second straight campaign? Have a read below for all our NHL picks.
Tampa Bay Lightning @ Montreal Canadiens ( Final – Game 3) – 8.00 PM EDT
The Tampa Bay Lightning got their quest to become back to back Stanley Cup champions off to the perfect start with wins in Games 1 and 2 at home. The Lightning took out the series opener 5-1 on Monday before taking a dominant 2-0 lead with a 3-1 victory on Wednesday.
With the scores tied at 1-1 late in the second period, right winger Blake Coleman gave the reigning champions an unassailable 2-1 lead heading into the final period after netting a diving goal with just 0.3 second remaining on the clock. Coleman now has two goals and nine points in the postseason, while Anthony Cirelli and Ondrej Palat picked up their 11th points of the playoffs with goals of their own. Tampa Bay have now won their past five games at home during this postseason, outsourcing their opponents 21-4 in that time.
What’s better than a buzzer beater?
A DIVING buzzer beater 🤯 pic.twitter.com/T5PY8VUnC1
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) July 1, 2021
As for the Canadiens, they will be returning to their home ice down 0-2 and looking to become just the sixth team in NHL history to win the Stanley Cup after dropping the opening two games of the final series. In what was truly one of the most remarkable performances in goal in Stanley Cup history, Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 42 of Montreal’s 43 shots in Game 2, as the Canadiens outshot the hosts 43-23. Nick Suzuki netted one of his nine shots on goal on Wednesday, scoring the lone goal for the Canadiens and giving the 21 year old his sixth goals and 14th point of the postseason.
Seeing as they had 20 more shots than the Lightning in Game 2 and they boast a 5-1 record from their last six games at Centre Bell Arena this postseason, we believe that the Canadiens will get their first win of the series on Friday night. Montreal stepped up their level of play in Game 2 after being ultimately outplayed in Game 1, outshooting Tampa Bay’s by almost double, only to be thwarted by a 42 save performance from Andrei Vasilevskiy. As well as that, the Canadiens could consider themselves unlucky in Game 2 after Blake Coleman netted the eventual winner with a diving effort in the dying stages of the second period. With a home crowd on their side and a can’t lose attitude, we are going to take Montreal at home at underdog odds for Game 3 on Friday.
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.