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Power Plays Record: 86-65
Canadiens @ Lightning – Game 1 – Canadiens Puck Line +1.5 (1.60 | -167)
The wait is over; after one of the most turbulent seasons we can remember, hockey fans get a storybook finale to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The defending champion, Tampa Bay Lightning, take on the heavy underdog, Montreal Canadiens in their first finals appearance since 1993. As improbable as the Habs’ run has been, we’re not ruling them out just yet.
This series will more than likely be decided by special teams. There’s no denying that Tampa Bay has one of the most skilled rosters in the league however, the majority of their offensive production comes from the man advantage. In the playoffs, the Lightning have only generated 2.74 expected goals for per game, good for 8th. They’ve leaned on their powerplay to keep them in games throughout the playoffs and tonight they’ll go head-to-head with the Canadiens’ number 1 ranked penalty kill.
The other matchup to keep an eye on is the duel in goal. Andrei Vasilevskiy and Carey Price are the best in the business. Both netminders rank within the top 5 across every one of our goaltending metrics with the exception of one for Vasilevskiy. If there’s a “weakness” in the Russian’s game, it’s his .824 inner slot save percentage where he ranks 7th among qualified playoff goaltenders. With that being said, scoring chances from that area are scarce and you can count on the Tampa defence to be equal to the task and deny opportunities from that area.
As lopsided as this matchup may seem, the Canadiens deserve this shot at the Cup and won’t go down without a fight. Grab the value on the Habs +1.5 puck line until the magic disappears.
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