Monday could be the last NHL game of the 2021 season as the Tampa Bay Lightning have the Montreal Canadiens on the ropes with a 3-0 series lead. In the history of the NHL playoffs, only four teams have ever come back down 3-0.
The Bolts have looked like the better team in every aspect of the series and with Carey Price looking like the goalie from the regular season and not the one from the playoffs, the Habs might not have to fly to Tampa after Monday.
The Lightning opened as -155 road favorites in the elimination game with the total sitting at a flat 5 leaning to the Over.
Here are our free Game 4 Stanley Cup Final picks and predictions for Lightning vs. Canadiens on July 5.
Lightning vs Canadiens game info
• Location: Bell Centre, Montreal, QB
• Date: Monday, July 5, 2021
• Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
• TV: CBC, Sportsnet, NBC
Lightning vs Canadiens odds
Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.
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NHL sharp money and line movement reportBy Patrick Everson
Tampa Bay can finish this off in sweeping fashion tonight in Montreal, and BetMGM Nevada would be just fine with that occurrence. "The Lightning are considerably better for us in the futures book," BetMGM Nevada's Scott Shelton said, while noting both teams are winners behind the counter. For Game 4, BetMGM Nevada opened the Lightning -145 late Friday night and got to -160 early today before backing up this evening to -150, where the moneyline sits at 7:45 p.m. ET. "Tickets are almost dead even, literally seven more on the Lightning, and money is running really close, too. We're gonna need the Canadiens small," Shelton said. The total opened at 5 (Over -125) and saw the price rise to Over -145, with ticket count "almost dead even" and money 2/1 on the Over.Check out the full line movement for this game
Lightning vs Canadiens series odds
Lightning vs Canadiens betting preview
Lightning: Alex Killorn F (Questionable).
Canadiens: Jake Evans F (Questionable).
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Betting trend to know
The Under is 6-1-2 in the Lightning’s last nine road games. Find more NHL betting trends for Lightning vs. Canadiens.
In Game 1, Tampa cruised to an easy 5-1 win as the Habs couldn’t stop Nikita Kucherov who finished with three points. In Game 2, Montreal made the adjustments to stop the first line and outshot Tampa 43-23 but still lost 3-1. This was one of the best games the Canadiens had played in the playoffs per a possession game and even at their best, they weren’t good enough to beat Tampa or even lead the game. In fact, Montreal hasn’t had a lead in the entire series as Tampa has led for roughly 75 percent of it. This has been as one-sided as a Stanley Cup Final has been in a while.
Montreal finally got more than one goal against Andrei Vasilevskiy in Game 3 but it was in vain as Price failed to hold the fort for the third straight game. Price has a .835 save percentage in the series, which is about as bad as it gets, but what makes it even worse is the quality of shots he has allowed. Of the 14 goals given up, six of them have been of the low-danger variety. Montreal was riding Price hard through the first three series but proofed that it doesn't stand a chance if he isn’t on top of his game.
With Price struggling, Vasilevskiy has done the opposite. The Russian goalie has stopped 92 of 97 Montreal shots and has given up one or fewer goals in five of his last eight playoff games. Vasilevskiy got snubbed for the second year in a row for the Vezina award and could use that for motivation on Monday. Giving Vas extra reason to dominate in an elimination game is scary, as the netminder has recorded four straight series-clinching playoff shutouts dating back to last year’s Finals. He is the favorite to win the Conn Smythe at -130.
There have been 19 elimination games in the 2021 playoffs with two of them going to Game 7. The leading team has won 12 of the 17 games. Since 2016, there have been 14 series that began 3-0. The leading team has won a total of 11 of those 14 Game 4 contests.
Tampa has been so good in the playoffs that all 15 of its wins have come in regulation and it has gone 10-5 ATS in those wins. At +170 on the puckline, we’re taking a stab at one more big plus-money play to hopefully conclude another great NHL season.
PREDICTION: Tampa Bay -1.5 (+170)
Game 3 had the biggest xgoals with a 5.12 mark in the 6-3 Tampa win. The high scoring may have bettors jumping on the Over, but a handful of soft goals plagued Game 3 and the series in general. Six of the nine goals on Friday were of the medium- and low-danger variety.
Price, sporting a 4.39 GAA, can’t play any worse in the series and although we doubt he steals the show Monday, he's more than likely going to put in a better performance in Game 4.
One would think that elimination games tend to hit the Over as teams are forced to pull the goalie earlier than usual, but the 2021 playoffs don’t prove that theory. In the 19 elimination games in these playoffs, the Under has hit in 10 of them. In Tampa’s last 10 elimination games dating back to last year’s playoff run, the Under is 8-1-1 including 4-0-1 in this year’s playoffs.
Montreal will have to play a mistake-free game and that should cut down on scoring chances, especially early. The referees will likely put the whistles away as they have done all playoffs in elimination games which has us leaning on the Under, yet again, for the handsome price of +120.
PREDICTION: Under 5 (+120)
Vasilevskiy has been Tampa’s most valuable player in the 2021 playoffs and will likely earn himself a Conn Smythe if he can get it done on Monday. All he has done in the playoffs is post an absurd 1.22 goals saved abovex/60 and a .967 save percentage on unblocked shots. But it is his work in elimination games that has us checking out his prop market.
The Tampa goalie has allowed a total of zero goals in his last four series-clinching games. That’s a perfect 78 for 78 in shots faced this postseason.
With a price of +700 to record a shutout, we aren’t passing it up.
PREDICTION: Andrei Vasilevskiy to record a shutout (+700)
Lightning vs Canadiens betting card
- Tampa Bay -1.5 (+170)
- Under 5 (+120)
- Andrei Vasilevskiy to record a shutout (+700)
Picks made on 7/04/2021 at 6:20 p.m. ET
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