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We’re two games in and we have two commanding wins for the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2021 Stanley Cup Final, but the end result may have been a little misleading in Game 2.

While the Lightning were a dominant force of nature that the Montreal Canadiens couldn’t seem to compete with in Game 1, the adjustments interim head coach Luke Richardson made in his bench management in Game 2 proved very effective at denying the Lightning the time and space they took from the Canadiens.

While the Canadiens were able to shuffle things around a bit to break the hard matchup of Brayden Point’s line against Nick Suzuki’s line, they were still unable to get the matchup they wanted, which is Phillip Danault and Brendan Gallagher against Point and Nikita Kucherov. With the series shifting to home ice, the Canadiens will be able to make the most of the line change advantages granted to home teams, which should allow them to limit the Lightning’s opportunities to create offence at even strength a bit more.

While the Canadiens’ adjustments in Game 2 flipped the script on puck possession, allowing Montreal to control the flow of play nearly 60 per cent of the time at even strength after the Lightning controlled almost 55 per cent in the series opener, they struggled to manufacture the highest leverage scoring chances in the game, allowing Andrei Vasilevskiy to assert total control with a 42-save performance.

Mental mistakes continued to plague the Canadiens, with both Ben Chiarot and Joel Edmundson nearly single-handedly causing goals against, but the Canadiens were still far more focused than they were in Game 1.

Heading back to home ice and welcoming head coach Dominique Ducharme back behind the bench after two weeks of quarantine due to testing positive for COVID-19, expect the Canadiens to come out red hot in Game 3. With home ice advantage and the emotional boost of the return of their head coach, bet on the Canadiens to score the first goal of Game 3, and they’re a different team with the lead.

Even with how well the Lightning have played through the first two games of the series, especially defensively, the Canadiens have deserved better than just two goals overall, only one at even strength. Playing with the lead, the Canadiens’ system of putting puck pressure on attackers, creating mistakes that lead to odd-man rushes, should be able to create a bit of an offensive breakout that they’re due for, so back the Canadiens to score 3+ goals in Game 3.

Even while predicting the Canadiens scoring first and being due for a bit of an uptick in offence, the Lightning are a team that is not put away easily. With Kucherov and Point having an uncharacteristically quiet Game 2, the Lightning’s depth scoring was on full display. Blake Coleman, Ondrej Palat, and Anthony Cirelli have all been huge factors in this series already, and that allows the Lightning to weather the shutdown style the Canadiens clamped down on the Vegas Golden Knights with.

Even if the Canadiens come out as strong as I expect they will in Game 3, bet on the game being tied after regulation, because I think we’re about to get some overtime.

Should the game go that way, it’s never a bad idea to put a bet down on Cole Caufield getting a point on the overtime winning goal.

Check out the latest NHL odds at Betway USA.