The uneventful Stanley Cup finals continue tonight as the Tampa Bay Lightning look to sweep the Montreal Canadiens after taking a commanding 3-0 series lead Friday night.
The Canadiens’ fairytale run looks to be coming to an end after being outplayed and outclassed by this Lightning team.
Below we’ll break down this matchup that may result in the Bolts’ second championship in as many years.
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Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
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Tampa Bay Lightning (-159) vs. Montreal Canadiens (+135)
After largely outplaying Tampa in Game 2 despite a few mental lapses, hope was on the horizon for Montreal as they returned to home ice. However, that hope quickly dissipated after the Lightning buried two goals in the first four minutes of the game. Killing any momentum and energy the Canadiens entered with.
Montreal largely rode Carey Price’s stellar play into the final. His statistics entering this series we’re impressive, turning in a 12-5, 2.02 GAA, and .924 save percentage. Unfortunately, the tides have turned as the ‘Habs have been overrun, hanging Price out to dry which has led to subpar results for the future hall of famer.
Additionally, the Canadiens have struggled offensively. Only scoring more than once in the previous matchup as Andrei Vasilevskiy continues his otherworldly play. For an already offensively inept team, this matchup is not a recipe for success.
Below we’ll analyze the series’ advanced metrics to date:
Number’s courtesy of Natural Stat Trick:
CF%: 61 (TB) 55.39 (MTL)
xGF%: 15 (TB) 48.85 (MTL)
xGF: 51 (TB) 5.26 (MTL)
HDCF%: 81 (TB) 44.19 (MTL)
Montreal’s metrics are very similar to Tampa Bay’s. Even edging them out in possession. But what plagues the Canadiens is the lack of high-end scorers. Though Cole Caufield is a budding superstar, he only has 28 games of NHL experience. Asking him to consistently contribute is a big ask.
Otherwise, this team is more comfortable playing low-scoring affairs while relying on Price. The bad news is, the Lightning are so versatile that they can beat you the same way. Or they’re just as comfortable playing in a track meet.
Between being offensively challenged and the defensive breakdowns, there’s little reason to have any confidence in backing Montreal. If the Lightning jump out to a lead with elimination looming, we’ll see extended empty net time, increasing the chances of the over hitting. Which is the way I will be playing this game.
Betting Picks: Over 5 (-135)
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