If the Stanley Cup champions are going to repeat, they are going to have to overcome their first deficit of the postseason. After rolling through the first two rounds, the Tampa Bay Lightning will now face some adversity.
The Lightning fell to the New York Islanders 2-1 in the opener of their Stanley Cup semifinal series Sunday. Tampa Bay had taken a 2-0 lead in each of the first two rounds, winning a pair of road games both times. This time, it lost to New York at home and will be trying to bounce back in Tuesday's Game 2.
The other semifinal series, which features the Vegas Golden Knights and Montreal Canadiens, will get underway Monday night in Las Vegas. The Golden Knights lost the first two games of their second-round series against the Colorado Avalanche, so they will be looking to get off to a better start on their home ice.
Here's a look at the full schedule for the Stanley Cup semifinals, along with the latest championship odds.
Full Stanley Cup Semifinals Schedule
No. 2 Vegas Golden Knights vs. No. 4 Montreal Canadiens
Game 1: Monday at 9 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
Game 2: Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
Game 3: Friday at 8 p.m. ET, USA Network
Game 4: Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
Game 5 (if necessary): June 22 at 9 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
Game 6 (if necessary): June 24 at 8 p.m. ET, USA Network
Game 7 (if necessary): June 26 at 8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
No. 3 Tampa Bay Lightning vs. No. 4 New York Islanders
Game 1: New York won 2-1.
Game 2: Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
Game 3: Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, USA Network
Game 4: Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, USA Network
Game 5 (if necessary): June 21 at 8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
Game 6 (if necessary): June 23 at 8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
Game 7 (if necessary): June 25 at 8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
Latest Stanley Cup Odds
Vegas Golden Knights: +105 (bet $100 to win $105)
Tampa Bay Lightning: +285
New York Islanders: +375
Montreal Canadiens: +900
The Islanders' odds of winning the Cup improved after their Game 1 win on the road. But if they are going to win their first championship since 1983, they are going to have to keep up the high level of play they showed Sunday.
New York fell behind 2-1 in each of its first two series but could take a 2-0 lead back home. The Isles are relying on their defense, as they have allowed two or fewer goals in four of their past five games.
That effort has been led by veteran goaltender Semyon Varlamov, who allowed only one goal and made 30 saves in Game 1. He kept Tampa Bay off the board until Brayden Point scored on a power play in the final minute.
But Mathew Barzal and Ryan Pulock had already scored by then, and it held on for a big victory to open the series. The Islanders will still need three wins to get to the Stanley Cup Final, but it was an impressive way to begin their matchup against the champions.
"I think if you look at the way the playoffs have gone for us, our game has continued to get better and that's what you want to see," New York forward Jordan Eberle said, per Fred Goodall of the Associated Press. "We're in the final four, so you should have confidence. This is obviously a good start for us, but we know they are going to come out pushing the next game."
The Lightning may have lost Game 1, but they still have solid odds to win it all. Last year, they dropped Game 1 in two of their four playoff series, but they bounced back to win multiple games both times. So it wouldn't be a surprise if Tampa Bay does that again.
However, the Golden Knights remain the favorite to win the Stanley Cup, and their odds will only get better if they get off to a strong start against the Canadiens. Vegas had 82 regular-season points, tied for the most in the NHL, and it's already been tested this postseason with a pair of challenging series against the Minnesota Wild and Colorado.
While the other three teams are solid, the Golden Knights may have the best all-around lineup of any of the four remaining squads. They are also an experienced group, having made the playoffs in each of their first four seasons as an NHL franchise and making a run to this point in the postseason three times.
If the Canadiens win their first Stanley Cup since 1993 (which would also make them the first team from Canada to do it since then), it would be a big upset. Montreal has been a long shot all postseason, yet it upset both the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets to get here.
Once a team gets to this point, anything can happen. But it would still be a surprise if the Habs take down the Golden Knights and either the Islanders or Lightning.
As long as the Golden Knights keep their momentum and play the way they did while winning four straight games to end their second-round series against the Avs, they are going to be difficult to beat.
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