FILE – In this March 5, 2020, file photo, Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77) breaks up a pass intended for Montreal Canadiens center Nick Suzuki (14) during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Tampa, Fla. This is a Stanley Cup matchup for all of those who like their games to be a bit defensive. The Dallas Stars and the Lightning, two of the league’s southernmost teams playing for the title in a bubble at the NHL’s most northern arena in Edmonton, both have defensemen who provide plenty of points. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara, File)
- Updated 2021 Stanley Cup odds have been released ahead of the Final
- The Montreal Canadiens are listed as heavy underdogs against the Tampa Bay Lightning
- See the opening series odds for the 2021 Stanley Cup Final along with betting advice below
It all comes down to one best-of-seven. Opening series odds have been released for the 2021 Stanley Cup Final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Montreal Canadiens. Game 1 is scheduled for Monday, June 28th at Amalie Arena.
The Lightning are listed as heavy favorites to repeat as Stanley Cup champions. The Canadiens have been doubted all postseason and are once again heavy underdogs against a higher seed.
Will Montreal’s incredible cinderella run continue against the powerhouse Lightning?
Canadiens vs Lightning Stanley Cup Final Series Odds
|Team||Odds at DraftKings|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||-250|
Odds as of June 25th
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Habs Ultimate Underdogs
The Montreal Canadiens are playing for the Stanley Cup despite being the last team to clinch a playoff spot during the regular season. The Habs entered the postseason with the fourth-worst odds (+2900) out of the 16 teams that qualified for the postseason. Montreal was a +240 underdog in their opening series against Toronto and were a whopping +315 underdog in Round 3 against Vegas.
Un nouveau trophée pour notre collection.
Adding a new trophy to our collection.#GoHabsGo pic.twitter.com/YCy8ktPhDm
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) June 25, 2021
Montreal is simply thriving in the underdog role and have a team built for postseason success. The Habs own the top ranked penalty kill (93.5%), have an elite goaltender in Carey Price (.934 SV%) and possess a balanced forward group that places emphasis on defensive play.
Rookie Cole Caufield scored four goals against Vegas, and the defense held the VGK forwards to just five total goals.
Cole Caufield, are you serious?! 🤯 pic.twitter.com/oAil30nHZZ
— The Players’ Tribune (@PlayersTribune) June 25, 2021
Montreal deserves more respect from oddsmakers, but you shouldn’t be too surprised by this opening line. The Lightning finished with 16 more points than Montreal in the regular season and have taken nine of the last 10 meetings between the two clubs. The Habs have to concur a gauntlet to win their first Stanley Cup since 1993.
Bolts Have Been Here Before
The Tampa Bay Lighting are being listed as heavy favorites in the Stanley Cup Final for the second straight year. The Bolts were -180 favorites against the Dallas Stars in the 2020 Stanley Cup Final.
Jon Cooper’s team handled Dallas in six games to win their first Stanley Cup since 2004. They’re looking to become the first back-to-back Cup winners since Pittsburgh accomplished the feat in 2016 and 2017.
While the Habs making the Cup Final shocked the hockey world, nobody is surprised that the Bolts ended up here. Tampa Bay opened as +750 co-favorites to repeat as Cup champs in the offseason and were the fourth favorite at +700 entering Round 1. The unknown status of injured superstar Nikita Kucherov made the Lightning undervalued in the Cup odds all season.
Nikita Kucherov – 27
Brayden Point – 18
Steven Stamkos – 17
Alex Killorn – 16
Victor Hedman – 16
The top five players in postseason points this year are all from Tampa.
— Andrew Weiss (@WeissHockeyTalk) June 22, 2021
The Lightning have reached the Cup Final on the strength of their elite offense and goaltending. The Bolts lead the postseason in scoring with 3.35 goals per game, and Vasilevskiy has the second-best save percentage (.933).
Tampa Bay’s biggest weapon is arguably their power play, which is operating at an insane 37.7% clip this postseason.
This is a pretty accurate opening series line given the starpower Tampa Bay possesses. Montreal was able to limit Toronto and Vegas’ top-six forwards, but the Bolts have superior depth.
Even if Montreal shuts down the Nikita Kucherov line, Tampa Bay has three other capable scoring lines. Alex Killorn and Steven Stamkos form a dynamic duo on the second line, while third-line center Yanni Gourde has four goals.
A short-handed goal by Gourde makes it #GoBolts 1-0 pic.twitter.com/xzM0McW8oI
— Lightning Radio (@BoltsRadio) June 26, 2021
Montreal’s top-ranked penalty kill going up against Tampa Bay’s elite power play is a critical matchup in this series. The Habs have killed 30 straight penalties dating back to Game 4 against the Maple Leafs. If there’s a power play that can break through against this penalty kill, it’s the Tampa Bay man advantage loaded with superstars.
Price vs Vasilevskiy is an incredible goalie matchup, but the edge goes to Vasi. The Russian netminder was just in this spot last year, while Price is making his first Cup Final appearance. Vasilevskiy is 11-1-2 in his career against Montreal with a .939 save percentage, while Price is 14-19-6 all-time against Tampa Bay with a .912 save percentage.
Brady is a passionate hockey fan and sports writer with over five years of experience specializing in digital media, plus a degree in Broadcast Journalism. His work has been published by outlets such as ESPN, CBS Sports, Yahoo! Sports and Fox Sports.