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Desperate Habs Try To Rebound In Game 3 vs Lightning

Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens head home for a crucial Game 3 vs the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday.

The Tampa Bay Lightning are halfway to a Stanley Cup Final feat that hasn't been achieved in nearly a quarter-century as they travel to Montreal for Game 3 of the championship round on Friday night. The Lightning (50-20-6 SU, 34-37-5 O/U) rolled to victory in the first two games vs the Canadiens (36-27-12 SU, 29-39-7 O/U) as they seek the first Stanley Cup final sweep since 1998.

Tampa Bay Lightning vs Montreal Canadiens
  • Date/Time: July 2, 8:00 p.m. ET
  • Arena: Bell Centre
  • TV Coverage: NBC
  • Opening Odds: Lightning -147 | O/U 5 (Line History)
  • Lightning vs Canadiens Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

Tampa Bay opened as a -147 favorite – much lower odds than they saw in each of the first two games – and have seen that number shrink even further, down to the -130 to -135 range. The total is set at 5, with the OVER at -115 and the UNDER at -105.

Tampa Bay News & Notes

The Lightning are known primarily for rolling out three lines that are capable of making opposing goaltenders pay – but it isn't just the balanced offense that has Tampa Bay just two wins away from a successful title defense. The Lightning have been terrific in their own end, holding Montreal to just two goals while having allowed only five total tallies over their previous five games.

That sensational back-end play was the difference in Game 2, as Tampa Bay pulled out a 3-1 victory despite being on the wrong end of a 43-23 shots discrepancy. Netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy was sensational in making 42 saves and might just find himself at the forefront of the Conn Smythe Trophy discussion, boasting a 1.89 goals-against average and a .939 save percentage in the postseason.

Montreal News & Notes

The Canadiens can only lament not making more of their numerous scoring opportunities in Game 2 – but at least they're on the right track after mustering just 19 shots on goal in a 5-1 performance in the Stanley Cup final opener. Montreal has been in a dire situation before, falling behind Toronto 3-1 in Round 1 before storming back to claim the series in seven.

We have discussed Montreal's offensive struggles in prior game previews, but not even a boost in the goal-scoring department will help if the Canadiens don't get better goaltending than they've received in this series. Carey Price has a miserable 4.06 goals-against average and a .840 save percentage so far in a best-of-seven in which the Canadiens have yet to enjoy a lead.

Betting Pick: Tampa Bay (-135)

If, as head coach Jon Cooper suggests, the Lightning's "team game was off" and the defending champions still came away with a multi-goal victory, it's hard to see Tampa dropping a single game to an outmatched Montreal team.

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Shark Bites
  • TB is 13-2 when leading after two periods in the playoffs.
  • The Lightning have won six straight head-to-head meetings.
  • The UNDER is 6-2 in the past eight games between the teams.