NHL Stanley Cup Final 2021: Examining Likelihood of Lightning-Canadiens Rematch

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IJuly 9, 2021

Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli (71) looks to shoot past Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) during the first period in Game 5 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup finals, Wednesday, July 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Gerry Broome/Associated Press

No NHL team has won three consecutive Stanley Cups in nearly 40 years. The last time it happened was when the New York Islanders captured four in a row from 1980-83.

However, that could change in 2022. The Tampa Bay Lightning have won back-to-back Cups after defeating the Montreal Canadiens in five games in the 2021 Stanley Cup Final. The Lightning ended the series with a 1-0 victory in Game 5 on Wednesday night.

Meanwhile, the Habs couldn't end Canada's Stanley Cup drought. There hasn't been a team from Canada to win the Cup since the Canadiens did so in 1993. They will look to build off their first Stanley Cup Final appearance since then when they return for the 2021-22 campaign.

In a typical season, Tampa Bay and Montreal are both in the Eastern Conference's Atlantic Division. The only reason the teams faced off in the Stanley Cup Final this year is because the divisions were realigned for the unorthodox 2020-21 season.

However, here's an early look at the odds for both teams (and more) to win the Cup in 2022.


Top Odds to win Stanley Cup in 2022

Colorado Avalanche: +500 (bet $100 to win $500)

Vegas Golden Knights: +600

Tampa Bay Lightning: +700

Toronto Maple Leafs: +1200

Boston Bruins: +1500

Carolina Hurricanes: +1500

Pittsburgh Penguins: +2300

Florida Panthers: +2400

Minnesota Wild: +2400

New York Islanders: +2500

New York Rangers: +2500

Edmonton Oilers: +2600

Montreal Canadiens: +2700

Complete list available at DraftKings Sportsbook.


It's not too surprising to see the Avalanche and Golden Knights as the two favorites to win the Cup next season. They tied for the NHL lead in regular-season points with 82 this term, and they played each other in a second-round playoff series. Vegas reached the Stanley Cup semifinal, where it lost to red-hot Montreal.

But the Lightning's odds for a three-peat aren't much worse than those of the Avalanche and Golden Knights given Tampa Bay will bring back many of the key contributors from its 2020-21 roster.

This postseason, the Lightning had the top five scorers in the Stanley Cup playoffs: Nikita Kucherov (32 points), Brayden Point (23), Victor Hedman (18), Steven Stamkos (18) and Alex Killorn (17). All five are under contract for the 2021-22 season.

Not only that, but Tampa Bay will also return Andrei Vasilevskiy, who became the 14th goaltender to win the Conn Smythe Trophy to cap his incredible postseason. The 26-year-old stepped up in the biggest moments, such as his shutout in the Lightning's Game 5 win over the Canadiens.

With so much talent returning, Tampa Bay should again be one of the top teams in the NHL next season. And it could make another run to the Cup.

However, because of the salary cap, the Lightning could lose some key players who are set to be free agents, as they don't have much financial flexibility to bring them back—CapFriendly has the Bolts at $3.5 million over the cap at present.

As for the Canadiens, they outperformed expectations by making a run to the Stanley Cup Final. They had only 59 regular-season points, the fewest of the 16 teams to reach the playoffs.

But Montreal has reason for optimism. Rookie forward Cole Caufield impressed during the playoff run. Star goaltender Carey Price is under contract until 2026. There are plenty of other key players for the Canadiens to build around too.

Still, unless Montreal adds some more talent or has a bunch of players take big steps forward in the 2021-22 regular season, it seems unlikely that it could make another run to the Stanley Cup Final as soon as next year. But the Canadiens could be a contender again in the near future.



Expect the Lightning to make it back to the Eastern Conference Final next season. Their talented roster and postseason experience make them a threat to make another deep playoff run.

The Canadiens, meanwhile, will have a better regular season in 2021-22 and build off their incredible postseason run, but they are likely going to get knocked out of the playoffs in one of the first two rounds (perhaps even by the Lightning).

Is Tampa Bay capable of a three-peat? Definitely. But is that going to happen? The prediction here is that the Lightning reach the Stanley Cup Final and fall short, losing to the top team from the Western Conference (likely either the Avalanche or Golden Knights).


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