After routing the Montreal Canadiens in Game 1 of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals on Monday, the Tampa Bay Lightning will look to duplicate their eye-opening feat when they host the Habs in Game 2 on Wednesday night.
Will Montreal show up with a better effort to steal Game 2 and even the Finals before we head north of the border for Game 3? Are the defending champion Lightning close to being a lock pick to win and cash in against the NHL props odds in Game 2, much like they did in the series opener?
Let’s find out what the likely scenario is for both clubs as we get set for their midweek matchup.
Montreal Canadiens at Tampa Bay Lightning
When: Wednesday, 8 p.m. ET
Where: Amalie Arena, Tampa, FL
TV: NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS
Radio: 970 WFLA, TSN 690 – 98.5FM
Tampa Bay -210
Montreal +1½ (-145)
Tampa Bay -1½ (+125)
The Canadiens are 11-3 in their last 14 overall.
The Canadiens are 9-3 in their last 12 games as an underdog.
The Canadiens are 6-2 in their last eight road games.
Under is 2-0-2 in Canadiens’ last four games as a road underdog.
Under is 3-1-4 in Canadiens’ last eight overall.
Score in First 9 ½ Minutes of Game
Analysis: While I predicted a “No” pick for a score in the first 9½ minutes of Game 1, I’m completely changing my tune heading into Game 2. Defenseman Erik Cernak lit the lamp for the Lightning at 6:19 of the opening period in Game 1 and I’m expecting to see one of these teams do so again in Game 2, with Tampa Bay being the most likely culprit.
The Lightning have the game’s most explosive offensive cache of players and arguably the best goaltender in the game in Andrei Vasilevskiy. Tampa Bay will be focused on getting off to a good start against the gritty Canadiens in Game 2 and that means they’re likely to strike early.
“I think from the moment we stepped on the ice (to) the last minute where everyone was standing, I think our fans were phenomenal tonight and gave us momentum,” forward Yanni Gourde said. “We were flying because of them. I think it makes the game so much more fun having fans in the building compared to last year in the bubble.”
Keep it simple and go with the “Yes” selection here at a value-packed -115. Tampa Bay gets it done with one of their top line stars finding the back of the net against Montreal’s Carey Price.
Pick: Yes (-115)
Tampa Bay Trends
The Lightning are 5-1 in their last six Stanley Cup Finals games.
The Lightning are 15-6 in their last 21 playoff games as a favorite.
The Lightning are 10-4 in their last 14 vs. NHL.
Under is 7-1-2 in Lightning’s last 10 games following a win.
Under is 9-4-2 in Lightning’s last 15 overall.
Race to Three Goals
Analysis: After correctly predicting Tampa Bay to win the race to two goals in Game 1, I’m coming back with the Lightning to get it done in the race to reach three goals first in Game 2.
Cernak and Gourde put Tampa Bay up 2-0 before the midway mark of the second period before Ben Chariot scored Montreal’s lone goal at 17:40 of the second period. Superstar forward Nikita Kucherov scored a pair of goals early in the third period before veteran center Steven Stamkos finished off the scoring with another goal at 18:50.
I like Tampa Bay to reach three goals first in Game 2 and believe the Canadiens might not even reach three goals for the entire game with the way Vasilevskiy is playing lights out in goal.
Pick: Tampa Bay Lightning -120
The Canadiens are 0-7 in the last seven meetings in Tampa Bay.
The Canadiens are 3-13 in the last 16 meetings.
Under is 5-2 in the last seven meetings in Tampa Bay.
Under is 5-2 in the last seven meetings.
Home team is 6-2 in the last eight meetings.
Favorite is 14-2 in the last 16 meetings.
Lightning by 2 +425
Lightning by 3 +550
Analysis: I picked Tampa Bay to win Game 1 by two goals but the Lightning doubled that figure by getting the four-goal win in the series opener. This time around I like the Lightning to get it done by three goals in Game 2 to cash in as a stunning +550 NHL props odds pick.
Brayden Point has scored a whopping 14 goals in 19 playoff games and Kucherov leads all players in postseason points with 30. Point is second in postseason points with 23 and Stamkos is third with 18 points. Forward Alex Killorn has 17 points and defenseman Victor Hedman is tied for fifth with 16 points. Montreal will most likely put up a better effort in Game 2, but Tampa Bay simply has too much firepower for the Canadiens. Simply put, I’m going with the Lightning to get it done by three goals on Wednesday night.