Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens Game 3 Prediction, Playoff Odds

Payton Matthews | Updated Jul 01, 2021

The Habs trail the defending champs 2-0 in the series, but even a reduced capacity Bell Centre should give Montreal a big boost as they attempt to cut the series deficit in half.

Tampa Bay
36-17-1-2
AT
July 02, 2021, 8:00 PM ET
Bell Centre
Montreal
24-21-8-3
Puckline -1.5 +190
Moneyline -125
Over / Under o +5

33%

Betting Action

67%

Puckline +1.5 -228
Moneyline +104
Over / Under u +5

33%

Betting Action

67%

For the first time in nearly 30 years on Friday night, the Montreal Canadiens will host a Stanley Cup Final game as they look to avoid a 3-0 series deficit to the Tampa Bay Lightning, who are Game 3 favourites on the NHL odds with a total of 5.0 goals.

Lightning vs. Canadiens Stanley Cup Odds

Tampa Bay closed at -200 or higher for the first two games of this series, so the opening -132 number for Game 3 tells you what oddsmakers think home-ice advantage might be worth. On the puckline, the Lightning at -1.5 goals are +200 and the Canadiens at +1.5 are -241. The under 5.0 goals is a -105 favourite.

On the updated series line with Tampa Bay up 2-0, the Bolts are -1250 and Canadiens +700. A sweep is the +192 favoured exact result, but finishing in Game 5 is a slight +175 favourite over Game 4 (+180).

The last time the Canadiens hosted a Stanley Cup Final matchup was Game 5 of the 1993 Final (June 9) against Wayne Gretzky’s Los Angeles Kings at the old Montreal Forum. The Habs prevailed 4-1 to win the Cup, the last team from Canada to do so. Paul DiPietro had two goals. Patrick Roy made 18 saves.

Montreal is 5-3 at home in these playoffs. Tampa Bay is 6-3 on the road.

Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning are up 2-0 in a Stanley Cup Final for the first time even though they have two Cups (fourth overall appearance). Teams that take 2-0 lead in a best-of-7 Stanley Cup Final hold an all-time series record of 46-5. A total of 11 teams in the past 20 years have gone up 2-0 and nine of those won the Cup. More bad news for the Habs: Tampa Bay is 8-0 all-time in a series when it led 2-0.

The three leading points scorers in these playoffs are Tampa’s Nikita Kucherov (30), Brayden Point (23) and Steven Stamkos (18). They all were held scoreless in Game 2, and Tampa won 3-1 regardless. Anthony Cirelli (fifth of playoffs), Blake Coleman (second) and Ondrej Palat (fifth) had the goals. Coleman’s was the back-breaker in a way as it came on an amazing play with just two seconds remaining in the second period for a 2-1 lead. The Lightning don’t lose when leading after two. Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy was typically excellent with 42 saves. He’s now the -159 favourite to win the Conn Smythe Trophy. Winger Alex Killorn missed the game with an undisclosed injury and is questionable for Game 3 but did travel to Montreal. He’s fourth on the team with 17 playoff points.

Montreal Canadiens

When trailing 2-0 in a best-of-7 series all-time, the Canadiens are 5-18 in those series’. Of course, they were down 3-1 in the first round vs. Toronto. One team has rallied from down 0-2 to win a series in these playoffs: Vegas against Colorado; then the Knights lost to the Canadiens. Montreal is down 2-0 in a Cup Final for the fifth time but did win series’ in 1966 & ’71.

The Habs were the better team in Game 2, outshooting the Lightning a whopping 43-23, going 1-for-3 on the power play and killing off all three Tampa Bay penalties. The breaks just went the home team’s way, plus the fact that Andrei Vasilevskiy is simply the best goaltender in the world even though he lost out on the Vezina Trophy to Marc-Andre Fleury. Nick Suzuki had the lone Montreal goal in Game 2, his 10th career playoff goal. He joined Claude Lemieux (14 goals) and Stephane Richer (also 14) as the lone players in franchise history to reach 10 post-season goals before turning 22. Suzuki will turn 22 next month. He is +294 to score a goal in Game 3. Interim head coach Dominique Ducharme will rejoin the Canadiens on Friday as he will clear COVID isolation.

NHL Playoff Prediction: Who Will Win Lightning vs. Canadiens?

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