The Tampa Bay Lightning didn’t just strike one time in Game 1. They did it five times to take the 1-0 series lead in the 2021 Stanley Cup Finals against the Montreal Canadiens. Could the Bolts do it again, or will the Habs pull even before the series goes to Bell Centre? It’s time to continue our NHL odds series and make a Canadiens-Lightning Game 2 prediction and pick.
Here’s how sportsbooks have set the Canadiens-Lightning odds.
NHL Odds: Canadiens-Lightning Game 2 Odds
Montreal Canadiens +173
Tampa Bay Lightning -193
Over 5.0 goals (-113)
Under 5.0 goals (+102)
Why The Canadiens Could Cover The Spread
The Canadiens found out the hard way why the Lighting have become the scariest team in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, as Montreal absorbed a demoralizing 5-1 loss on the road in the series opener. Carey Price could only do so much for the Habs in front of the net, as he turned away just 22 of Tampa Bay’s 27 shot attempts.
As mentioned in a previous preview for the Canadiens for this series, getting Price early goals to work on is going to be important for Montreal, especially against these electrifying sets of Lightning forwards. In Game 1, the lone Canadiens goal was supplied by a defenseman in Ben Chiarot. There has to be a more intense sense of urgency for the Habs to score first. One encouraging sign for the Habs heading to Game 2 is the fact that they still won the possession battle in Game 1, as they finished with an even-strength 54.32 CF%.
And even though they surrendered a power-play goal for the first time in a long while, the Habs held the Lightning scoreless on Tampa’s two other PP chances. The Canadiens also got drubbed in Game 1 of their semifinals series against the Vegas Golden Knights, but they went on to win four of the next five games. The Canadiens are 10-1 in their last 11 games after just a day of rest.
Why The Lighting Could Cover The Spread
The Lightning aren’t just good. They’re also smart. They had a lethal mix of those qualities in Game 1 and injected the solution straight into the veins of Montreal. Tampa Bay knew that the Canadiens’ top line is arguably the team’s best asset, as Phillip Danault had shut down the top opposing forwards in the previous series.
To soften the impact of Danault, Artturi Lehkonen, and Brendan Gallagher, the Bolts simply didn’t let the trio of Ondrej Palat, Nikita Kucherov, and Brayden Point play heavy minutes together on the ice at even strength when Danault and his line are on. But even then, the Bolts still found success with Yanni Gourde, Steven Stamkos, and Erik Cernak each scoring a goal.
Kucherov also finished with a pair of goals and an assist. It just tells us what people already knew beforehand: that the Lightning have incredible depth from the top down to the fourth line, and it’s making Montreal struggle in configuring its own lines alone. Dating back to last season, the Lightning are now 5-1 in their past six games in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Final Canadiens-Lightning Game 2 Prediction & Pick
There’s a long way to go in the series, and if there’s one thing we have learned about the Canadiens, it’s that they are hard to kill. Expect the Canadiens to put up a better fight in Game 2, especially defensively. Still, the Lightning will come out on top, with the top line anchoring the offense.
FINAL PICK: Montreal Canadiens +1.5 (-150)