As Bad as It Gets
Powerless Habs Get Struck by Lightning in Tampa Bay, Down 0-1 in 2021 Stanley Cup Final
Yuck! That was ugly.
Montreal played a horrible game on Monday night, and fell into an early 0-1 hole in the best-of-seven games series, losing by a 5-1 score that wasn't even that close.
There's no other way to say this: The Canadiens played an awful game. And let's give the Tampa Bay Lightning plenty of credit, too. Perhaps they're simply the far better team.
Much of Game 1 saw the heavily favoured Lightning dominating puck possession, shots on goal, physicality, and intensity. The Canadiens' passing was sloppy all night long. Their only goal, which made the score 2-1 at one point before things got totally out of hand, came on a freak richochet.
Here's the highlights, or should we say lowlights for Montreal.
The good news is – the loss is just one game. If Montreal can somehow bounce back and steal Game 2 on Tampa Bay, that's a huge win and would mean the Canadiens then enjoy home-ice advantage the remainder of the series. But the Habs must win Game 2. It might be now or never for the dogs.
If the Canadiens are going to make this into a competitive series, they need to find the back of the net. Tampa Bay's defence was inpenetrable. They've got to figure out a way to keep the puck in the Lightning zone, and force the action on the opposite side of the rink. Goaltender Carey Price also comes off a terrible game – he's now under pressure to revert to the solid presence in front of the net.
Odds have shifted even more heavily in the Lightnings' favour. At SPREADS.CA, Tampa Bay is laying -600 to win the series, or +450 on Montreal.
Game 2 happens on Wednesday. We'll have a prediction on game day.
Here's the schedule (all starting times are Eastern):
Game 1: Mon. June 28: Canadiens at Lightning, 8 p.m. – TB wins 5-1
Game 2: Wed. June 30: Canadiens at Lightning, 8 p.m.
Game 3: Fri. July 2: Lightning at Canadiens, 8 p.m.
Game 4: Mon. July 5: Lightning at Canadiens, 8 p.m.
*Game 5: Wed. July 7: Canadiens at Lightning, 8 p.m.
*Game 6: Fri. July 9: Lightning at Canadiens, 8 p.m.
*Game 7: Sun. July 11: Canadiens at Lightning, 7 p.m.