Lightning Strong Favorites to Beat Canadiens
- The Tampa Bay Lightning are -160 favorites to complete a four-game sweep of the Montreal Canadiens in the Stanley Cup final
- Tampa Bay is the overwhelming -5000 chalk to win a second straight Stanley Cup title
- In Stanley Cup final history, only one team has ever rallied from a 3-0 series deficit to win the Cup
The Tampa Bay Lightning are on the verge of several historic accomplishments. The Stanley Cup final odds are favoring them to achieve all of them. Up 3-0 on the Montreal Canadiens in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup final series, a win on Monday would give Tampa Bay a sweep of the set. Oddsmakers are listing a betting line making Tampa Bay 4-0 the odds-on -160 favorite as to how this NHL playoff series will be completed.
|Tampa Bay Lightning 4-0||-160||-160||-160|
|Tampa Bay Lightning 4--1||+220||+210||+240|
|Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2||+750||+750||+700|
|Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3||+2000||+2000||+1400|
|Montreal Canadiens 4-3||+4000||+4000||+2500|
Montreal has only ever been swept once in a Stanley Cup final series. That was nearly 70 years ago at the hands of the Detroit Red Wings in the 1951-52 final. As for the series itself, the betting line shows Tampa Bay as the overwhelming -5000 chalk in the 2021 Stanley Cup odds to capture the Cup for the second straight season.
If they do so, Tampa Bay would join the Pittsburgh Penguins (2015-16, 2016-17) as the only teams to win consecutive Stanley Cups in the NHL's salary-cap era, which began with the 2005-06 season, following a season-long shutdown of the NHL in order to reorganize the league's financial situation. Oddly enough, Tampa Bay's other championship of the Stanley Cup playoffs was earned in 2003-04, in the final campaign prior to the NHL establishing what it calls cost certainty.
Is A Sweep In Order?
Through three games, the Lightning have outscored the Canadiens 14-5. They are the third team over the past 37 years to net that many goals through the first three games of a Stanley Cup final series.
The other team teams were the 1996 Colorado Avalanche and the 1997 Detroit Red Wings. Both won the Cup in sweeps.
Should the Lightning hoist the Cup at Bell Centre in Game 4, they would become the first team in 23 years to sweep a Stanley Cup final series https://t.co/YvFyQGlXhT— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) July 5, 2021
If they win Monday, Tampa Bay would be the first team to sweep the final series in the Stanley Cup playoffs since the 1998 Red Wings.
Canadiens Hold History Of Impressive Rallies
Just five teams have come back from a 2-0 series deficit to win the Stanley Cup final. Twice, it was the Canadiens who did so.
Fifty years ago in 1971, Montreal dropped the first two games of the Cup final series at Chicago Stadium to the Blackhawks. The Habs battled back to win the series in seven games.
In 1966, Montreal was defending Stanley Cup champions. The underdog Detroit Red Wings defied the Stanley Cup Vegas odds by going into the Montreal Forum and winning Games 1 and 2 of the final series. Then, the champs kicked into gear. The Canadiens won four straight games to take the series in six.
The Lightning haven't lost two in a row over the past two postseasons.— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) July 3, 2021
Down 3-0 in the Cup Final, the Canadiens have to defeat them four straight times to win the Cup.
Montreal faces two issues in this comeback scenario, however. Only one team, the 1941-42 Toronto Maple Leafs, has ever rallied from 3-0 down to win the Stanley Cup final series. As well, Tampa Bay hasn't lost back-to-back playoff games. The Lightning would need to lose four in a row in order for Montreal to win the Cup.
Will Mr. Zero Stike Again?
Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy is clearly dominating the netminding battle with Montreal's Carey Price in this showdown of puck stoppers who were both first-round picks in their NHL draft years. In two of three games, Vasilevskiy has allowed just one goal.
However, what he hasn't achieved yet in the Stanley Cup final is to post a shutout. In each of Tampa Bay's three series wins en route to a second straight final appearance, Vasilevskiy has closed out the set by posting a shutout in the series-clinching game. That's a feat never previously achieved in the history of the Stanley Cup.
Andrei Vasilevskiy has 48 career playoff wins. That's good enough for 23rd in NHL history already.— Andrew Weiss (@WeissHockeyTalk) July 3, 2021
Only three players above him on that list have a higher save percentage than his .924 in the playoffs.
He's only 26. pic.twitter.com/RhWpW4bGTC
However, oddsmakers aren't leaning toward Vasilevskiy continuing his run of zeroes. The betting line on a prop wager in the Stanley Cup odds is listing zero as the -350 chalk when it comes to how many shutouts will be posted in the Stanley Cup final series.
Who's In For The Conn?
Once the Stanley Cup winner is decided, the next order of business will be to present the Conn Smythe Trophy to the MVP of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
|Andrei Vasilevskiy (Lightning)||-130||-200|
|Nikita Kucherov (Lightning)||+110||+125|
|Brayden Point (Lightning)||+1000||+900|
|Carey Price (Canadiens)||+5000||+5000|
|Steven Stamkos (Lightning)||+6600||+6600|
Vasilevskiy is the -130 favorite to be the recipient and certainly would be a deserving winner. However, a strong case can also be made for Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov.
Only three players in NHL history have scored 30+ points in consecutive postseasons.— Emily Kaplan (@emilymkaplan) June 29, 2021
After missing the entire NHL regular season following hip surgery, Kucherov is leading the playoff points race with 32. That's nine more than any other player.
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