NHL Hockey: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens Game 2 Preview and Odds - 06/30/2021

by Alec McMordie

The Stanley Cup finals continue on Wednesday, with the Tampa Bay Lightning hosting the Montreal Canadiens on the NBC Sports Network at 8:08 PM ET. 

Tampa Bay took a 1-0 lead in this best-of-seven series with their 5-1 victory on Monday. Erik Cernak opened the scoring for the Lightning with a goal at the 6:19 minute mark of the first period. Yanni Gourde made it a 2-0 score when he scored at 5:47 of the second period. Ben Chariot got Montreal on the board with his goal at 17:40 of the second period. Nikita Kucherov made it a 3-1 game when he scored two minutes into the third period, and he extended the lead to 4-1 just under nine and a half minutes later. Steven Stamkos scored the final goal on a power play at 18:50 of the third period. 

Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 18 of the 19 shots he faced in the win. He has a 13-6 record in the playoffs, with a 1.94 goals-against-average, a .936 save percentage, and four shutouts. He had a 31-10-1 record in the regular season, with a 2.21 goals-against-average and a .925 save percentage. He finished in second place to Marc-Andre Fleury for the Vezina Trophy last night, awarded to the top goaltender of the season. He previously won that award in 2019.

The Lightning aspires to become the eighth team in NHL history to win back-to-back Stanley Cup championships. Tampa Bay won their first Stanley Cup in the 2003-04 season before winning the title again last season. The Pittsburgh Penguins are the most recent franchise to repeat as champions in 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons. 

Tampa Bay opened their postseason campaign by defeating the Florida Panthers in six games. They followed that up by beating the Carolina Hurricanes in five games in the East Division finals. The Lightning needed seven games to outlast the New York Islanders in the Stanley Cup semifinals. 

Brayden Point leads the league with 14 goals in the postseason. His nine-game playoff streak with at least one point ended in Game 7 in the Islanders series on Friday. He assisted on three goals on Monday. Nikita Kucherov leads the NHL with 30 points in the playoffs. He has scored seven goals and added 22 assists. The lower-body injury he suffered in Game 6 last round that limited him to 16:29 minutes in Game 7 did not appear to slow him down on Monday. He played 19:04 minutes. Steven Stamkos is third on the team with 18 points from eight goals and ten assists. 

Carey Price gave up five goals on the 27 shots he faced on Monday for the Canadiens. Not only was that the most goals he has allowed in one game this postseason, but it also equaled the number of goals that he allowed in the three previous games against Vegas. The 2015 Vezina Trophy winner has a 12-6 record in the playoffs this season, with a 2.18 goals-against-average and a .928 save percentage.

Tyler Toffoli leads the team with 14 points coming from five goals and nine assists. Nick Suzuki has 13 points from five goals and eight assists.  Cole Caufield and Corey Perry both have nine points, tied for third-most on the team. 

Montreal defeated the Vegas Golden Knights in six games to reach the Stanley Cup finals. The Canadiens opened their postseason run by defeating the heavily-favored Toronto Maple Leafs in seven games. Montreal then swept Winnipeg in four games in the North Division finals before upsetting Vegas in six games. The Canadiens have won 11 of their last 13 games since trailing the Maple Leafs, 3-1, in that first-round series. They have won the Stanley Cup championship 22 times. They last won the Cup in 1993 in their most recent appearance in the finals.  

The Canadiens’ streak of 13 straight games without allowing giving up a power-play goal ended with the Stamkos goal late in the third period. They had successfully thwarted 32 power plays from their opponents in a row. Tampa Bay had three power-play chances in Game 1. They have scored 21 power plays in the playoffs, a 37.5% success rate on their 56 opportunities with the man advantage. 

Montreal will likely still be without Joel Armia indefinitely after he entered the COVID quarantine protocol. He did not travel with the team to Florida for Game 1, and he is questionable for Game 2. The Canadiens expect head coach Dominique Ducharme back for Game 3 when he completes the COVID quarantine protocol. Assistant head coach Luke Richardson will retain head coaching bench duties until then. The team has a 3-2 record under Richardson since Ducharme began quarantine. Tomas Tatar and Jake Evans remain questionable with the injuries that kept them out last round. 

BetAnySports lists Tampa Bay as a -195 money line favorite for Game 2, with the total set at 5.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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