Updated: Jan 14
The NHL Playoffs are down to their final two teams. Either the Tampa Bay Lightning will be crowned as back-to-back champions or the Montreal Canadians will lift Lord Stanley’s Cup for the first time in 28 years. Either way we have a great series ahead between two teams with extraordinary goaltending. For this post, we will look at each team and their odds to win the title:
Montreal Canadiens (+225)
Key Players: Casey Price, Phillip Danault, Brendan Gallagher.
We have already mentioned that the Canadiens, the winningest franchise in NHL history, last won the Stanley Cup back in 1993, but we did not mention how unlikely it is for them to be in this position. After ending the regular season on a five game losing streak, the Canadiens fell behind 3-1 in their first round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs. At that point, things seemed to change for this Montreal team. Phillip Danault has excelled in his pressuring of opponents key offensive weapons and the team as a whole have not conceded a power play goal since that Game 4 against the Leafs. As you can see, we have highlighted the Canadiens top defensive line as their key to winning this series against a much deeper and more well-rounded Tampa team. It is critical for this defense to maintain their level of play against a largely healthy Lightning attack.
Tampa Bay Lightning (-275)
Key Players: Andrei Vasilevskiy, Brayden Point, Steven Stamkos.
The Bolts also enter this series with elite defensive play and could possibly have the best goalie in hockey in net, Andrei Vasilevskiy. We have been talking up Vasilevskiy since the start of the season. Simply, no goalie plays better and wins more at home. It will not take many goals to provide Vasilevskiy with the support he needs to win another Stanley Cup Final, which is why the other key players for the Bolts are their offensive stars. Unlike the other teams that Montreal faced enroute to the Finals, this Tampa team is largely healthy on attack. If Point and Stamkos are able to maintain their health and their level of play, we believe they will provide enough goals for the Lightning to be crowned champions, again.
*Please do not mistake our opinions expressed here as our picks for any of the games in the series. We will post all picks for each and every game in the Game Picks section of the website.
**Odds accurate at time of posting
***Also, let us know if you like this Finals preview! Would you want to see more previews like this in the future?