NHL Stanley Cup Final 2021: Lightning vs. Canadiens Game 3 Odds, TV Info, Picks

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IJuly 2, 2021

Montreal Canadiens right wing Brendan Gallagher (11) plays the puck next to Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jan Rutta (44) and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) during the second period in Game 2 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup finals, Wednesday, June 30, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Gerry Broome/Associated Press

The Tampa Bay Lightning have been dominant on their home ice of late. And because of that, they have a 2-0 lead over the Montreal Canadiens in the Stanley Cup Final.

The series shifts to Montreal for Friday's Game 3, which is a must-win for the Habs. If they lose again, they will be in a 3-0 hole that will be nearly impossible to overcome—the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs are the only team to have overturned such a deficit in the Stanley Cup Final. But if they win, they could quickly get back into the series.

For now, Tampa Bay has the momentum as it looks to repeat as Stanley Cup champion. It's outscored Montreal 8-2 in the series, holding the Habs to one goal in each of the first two games.

Here's everything you need to know heading into Friday's Game 3 matchup.


Game 3 Information

Date: Friday, July 2

Start Time: 8 p.m. ET


Live Stream: NBC Sports app



Spread: Tampa Bay (-1.5)

Over/Under: 5 total goals

Moneyline: Tampa Bay -136 (bet $136 to win $100); Montreal +115 (bet $100 to win $115)

Via DraftKings Sportsbook.


Preview, Prediction

Heading into the Stanley Cup Final, much of the attention was on the goaltending matchup. Tampa Bay's Andrei Vasilevskiy and Montreal's Carey Price are two of the better netminders in the league, and they both played well while leading their teams through the postseason.

Through the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final, Vasilevskiy has been the standout. He's allowed only two goals while recording 60 saves, including 42 in the Lightning's Game 2 win Wednesday.

"Whatever happens win or lose, I'm just trying to go out there and play my best game, and now we're up two games," Vasilevskiy said, per Stephen Whyno of the Associated Press. "It doesn't matter: up two games, down two games, it's the same routine, same compete level."

It's possible Tampa Bay's players also feel that way, but Montreal's players should feel more urgency considering the team is only two losses away from the end of its season.

The Habs entered the playoffs as an underdog, as they had only 59 points during the regular season, the fewest among the 16 teams to reach the postseason. Still, they have made an incredible playoff run and have already faced this type of adversity.

In the first round, the Canadiens trailed the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 but won three straight games to take the series. They have rolled since then, sweeping the Winnipeg Jets and defeating the Vegas Golden Knights in six games.

The Habs will also have their interim head coach with them for Game 3, with Dominique Ducharme returning behind the bench after testing positive for COVID-19 in June. Montreal has excelled with assistant coach Luke Richardson at the helm, but getting back Ducharme could provide a welcome boost.

"Dom talks a lot between periods about in-game adjustments and things that will help us be successful the next period going out," Canadiens forward Eric Staal said, per NHL.com's Nicholas J. Cotsonika. "Sometimes, from afar, it's a little bit more difficult, so he'll be hands-on with us. That's good for us. So looking forward to having him back."

It's likely that Tampa Bay is going to win this series. The Lightning have a talented, experienced roster that knows what it takes to win on the big stage, having done so last season.

However, the Canadiens aren't going to go down without a fight. And they know the dire situation they would be facing if they drop Game 3 at home.

That's why Montreal will bounce back to win its first game of the series on its home ice. Price is due for a better showing, and he should perform in front of the Canadiens' fans. And while it will be a low-scoring matchup, the Habs will generate just enough offense to emerge victorious.

The Lightning are going to remain in control moving forward, but the Canadiens are talented enough to avoid a sweep. Expect them to notch a Game 3 victory to keep things interesting for now.

Prediction: Canadiens win Game 3.


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