NHL Playoffs Montreal Canadiens vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Stanley Cup Finals series predictions

Jun 25, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) greats New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz (left) after winning 1-0 in game seven of the Stanley Cup Semifinals at Amalie Arena.
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Matthew Lowrimore

NHL

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Matthew has been with Pickswise for a while now, covering a wide variety of sports. His main passions are college football and UFC, and those are the sports he has covered the most. Matthew uses a variety of methods to handicap games, including stats, trends, injuries, and situational factors. His goal is to consistently give out winners and will put in the research to try and achieve this.

After a long and grueling series, the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the New York Islanders in Game 7 to advance to their second consecutive Stanley Cup Finals.

Meanwhile, the Montreal Canadiens pulled off a shocking upset over the Vegas Golden Knights, beating them in six games.

Stanley Cup Series Odds:

Tampa Bay Lightning: -250
Montreal Canadiens: +200

Above are the Stanley Cup odds for each team now that we are down to the Finals. Now let’s see how this series might play out.

Montreal Canadiens vs. Tampa Bay Lightning predictions

Tampa Bay Lightning

No surprise here that the Tampa Bay Lighting are a huge favorite coming into this series. As mentioned, they beat the New York Islanders in seven games, but did have some bumps along the road. Leading point scorer, Nikita Kucherov picked up an injury in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals and while he did play in Game 7, he was largely a non-factor. His status and production going into the Finals is going to be huge for Tampa Bay, especially if they plan to repeat as champions.

The player who had the most success against the Islanders had to be Brayden Point. He did see his nine-game goal scoring streak come to an end in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, but still managed to score in six of the seven games. Defenseman, Victor Hedman also has played a vital role during this postseason and has 16 points in total. Tampa Bay also has Steven Stamkos and Alex Killorn, each with 17 points in these playoffs. So really, this Lightning squad is stacked from top to bottom and we are likely going to see this play out over the next week or so.

Montreal Canadiens

Perhaps the biggest upset so far in this postseason was the Montreal Canadiens beating the Vegas Golden Knights in six games. The Canadiens were huge dogs in this series, but were not fazed by the rowdy Vegas home crowd. Montreal had several players step up against Vegas, but a few in particular stand out as key contributors.

That being Tyler Toffoli, Nicholas Suzuki and Cole Caufield. Both Caufield and Suzuki had five points in the series, while Toffoli ended with four. They do not appear to be as deep as the Lightning are, which may hurt their chances of realistically winning the Stanley Cup.

Recent head-to-head meetings

Given the Covid guidelines during the regular season, these teams have not played each other this season.

Final thoughts

As most would expect, this series is likely going to come down to the goalies. Andrei Vasilevskiy will be in net for the Lightning, while Carey Price will be in goal for the Canadiens. Vasilevskiy has arguably been the best goalie this postseason, posting a record of 12-6 in 18 games. During the playoffs, he has a goals against average of 1.99 and a save percentage of 0.936 with four shutouts. Against the Islanders, Vasilevskiy saved 171 of the 182 shots he faced.

As for Price, he is 12-5 over 17 games in the playoffs, has a goals against average of 2.02 and a save percentage of 0.934. In the Vegas series, Price saved 180 of the 193 shots that he saw.

While the goalies look to be pretty even in this matchup, I think Tampa Bay’s depth is going to be the biggest difference. That is why I like them to lift the Stanley Cup trophy for the second season in a row.

Verdict: Tampa Bay Lightning win the Stanley Cup

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