Stanley Cup Final 2021: Lightning vs. Canadiens odds, NHL picks, Game 1 predictions from proven hockey expert

The 2021 Stanley Cup Final gets underway Monday evening, with all eyes on Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla.. The Tampa Bay Lightning host the Montreal Canadiens in Game 1 of a best-of-seven matchup with the title on the line. The Lightning needed seven games to defeat the New York Islanders to earn the bid to the Stanley Cup Final 2021. In contrast, the Canadiens upset the Las Vegas Golden Knights in six games.

The game is set to begin at 8 p.m. ET in Tampa Bay. William Hill Sportsbook lists Tampa Bay as the -200 favorite (risk $200 to win $100), while the over-under, or total number of goals the oddsmakers think will be scored, is five in the latest Canadiens vs. Lightning odds. Before you make any Lightning vs. Canadiens picks and or NHL predictions, you need to see what SportsLine NHL expert Matt Severance has to say.

Severance is a well-connected writer and handicapper who has worked in the industry since 2005. He is a whopping 173-112 in his last 285 NHL picks, returning $1,850 for the $100 bettor. You must check out what he has to say about Game 1.

Now, Severance has set his sights on Canadiens vs Lightning. You can head to SportsLine to see his picks. Now, here are several NHL betting lines and trends for Lightning vs Canadiens:

  • Canadiens vs. Lightning money line: Lightning -200, Canadiens +175 
  • Canadiens vs. Lightning over-under: 5 goals 
  • Canadiens vs. Lightning spread: Lightning -1.5 (+140)
  • MON: The Canadiens are 18-12-7 on the road this season 
  • TB: The Lightning are 27-10 at home this season

Featured Game | Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens

Why the Canadiens can win

Montreal has embraced the underdog moniker, reaching the finals despite its No. 16 ranking before the playoffs. The Canadiens lost their final five games of the regular season, then fell behind 3-1 against the Toronto Maple Leafs in round one, but they’ve caught fire with a 13-2 record since that point. 

Montreal is the NHL’s all-time winningest franchise, but this year’s team is special in a number of areas. The Canadiens have been electric in terms of defense and goal prevention, including a sparkling 11-0 record in the postseason when they score at least two goals. Goalie Carey Price has been a star in the playoffs, allowing 2.02 goals per game and saving 93.4 percent of attempted shots. 

As a whole, Montreal’s penalty killing has been elite in the postseason, stopping power plays at a 93.5 percent clip. They have also limited top scorers from the opposition, and the Canadiens haven’t allowed a power play goal in 13-straight postseason games, an NHL record. Offensively, Montreal doesn’t have the firepower that Tampa Bay brings, but the Canadiens have a balanced attack and 20-year-old rookie forward Cole Caufield is breaking out with four goals in the previous series against Las Vegas.

Why the Lightning can win

Tampa Bay’s metrics are incredibly impressive, including the No. 1 goal differential in the 2021 NHL Playoffs. The Lightning were also a top-five team in both goals scored and goals against during the NHL’s regular season, and that success continues. 

The Lightning are converting 37.7 percent of their power player chances in the playoffs, and they match up well against a red-hot Montreal penalty-kill unit. Tampa Bay is No. 2 in the playoffs in goals per game (3.22) and 28-year-old Nikita Kucherov leads the NHL, by a wide margin, with 27 points in the playoffs. Those 27 points, and a whopping 22 assists, have come in just 18 games, with 25-year-old center Brayden Point nearly doubling the competition with 14 playoff goals in only 18 games. 

On the flip side, Tampa Bay is also elite at preventing the opposition from scoring, with the No. 1 mark in goals against (2.06 per game) and save percentage (0.936) during the playoffs. Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy has four shutouts already in the playoffs, leading the league, and defenseman Victor Hedman has contributed strong resistance and 15 assists in 18 games.

How to make Canadiens vs. Lightning picks

Severance is going under on total goals scored. He’s also found an x-factor that has him jumping all over one side of the money line in Game 1 of the 2021 Stanley Cup Finals. You can see his Stanley Cup Finals 2021 expert picks only on SportsLine

So who wins Canadiens vs. Lightning? And what x-factor makes one side of the money line a huge value? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the Canadiens vs. Lightning matchup you need to jump on Monday, all from the expert that has crushed his NHL picks, and find out.  

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