Canadiens vs. Lightning Odds, Pick, Prediction: Stanley Cup Game 5 Betting Preview (Wednesday, July 7)
Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images. Pictured: Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy watches the puck fly by during a recent game.
- The Tampa Bay Lightning look to finish off the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
- The Lightning, who are looking to repeat as champions, are 14-0 following a loss over their last two postseason runs.
- Mike Ianniello breaks down the meeting below and explains why he likes Tampa Bay to win another chamionship.
Canadiens vs. Lightning Odds
|Time||Wednesday, 8 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Wednesday morning via DraftKings.|
The Montreal Canadiens were able to fight off the sweep in Canada on Monday with its thrilling 3-2 overtime win, thanks to Josh Anderson giving the hosts the victory just less than four minutes into first overtime.
Despite Tampa Bay suffering its first loss of the series, it was arguably its best game so far. The Lightning outshot Montreal, 34-21, and had a 4.36 to 1.9 edge in expected goals. Goaltender Carey Price had his best game of the best-of-seven series with 2.36 GSAx, while Andrei Vasilevskiy had his worst game with -1.1 GSAx in defeat.
The series returns to Florida for Wednesday’s Game 5 matchup, with the Lightning looking to become the first team to win the Stanley Cup on home ice in five years when the 2015 Chicago Blackhawks beat the Lightning in the “Windy City.”
Canadiens Put Together Magical Postseason Run
After getting into the playoffs with the worst record of all teams after finishing fourth in the NHL’s worst division, Montreal went on a Cinderella run all the way to the finals. After falling behind 3-1 to Toronto, the Canadiens took down the Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets and Vegas Golden Knights.
The Canadiens are led by goaltender Price, who ranks second among playoff goaltenders with 11.0 GSAx. He is 13-8 with a .922 save percentage and 2.34 goals against average. Montreal was able to win Game 4 behind his best performance of the series, and if they have a chance in Game 5, he will need to find a way to be even better.
In front of Price, Montreal has a terrific group defensemen, relying mostly on its top four. The Canadiens’ top two pairs of Shea Weber and Ben Chiarot, as well as Jeff Petry and Joel Edmundson, have been terrific. All four are averaging more than 23 minutes of ice time per game.
The problem for Montreal this series is that against Vegas it relied on its strong defensive play, with the ability to capitalize on the occasion mistake or odd-man rush. We have seen in this series against Tampa Bay, those breakaway chances for guys like Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield have been saved by Vasilevskiy rather than ending up in the back of the net.
The Canadiens’ two young studs have generated a combined 28 scoring chances and eight High Danger Chances, but collected just three goals in the five games thus far.
Tyler Toffoli, Montreal’s leading scorer in the regular season, has zero points and totaled just nine shots. After spending the first three games with Suzuki and Caufield, Toffoli was bumped to the line with Gallagher and Danault in favor of Josh Anderson. The move paid off as Anderson tallied a pair of goals, including the overtime winner.
Tampa Bay Lightning
I can’t tell if there is an actual Conn Smythe Trophy debate or if people just need something to talk about. Look, Nikita Kucherov has been unbelievable. He has 32 points in 22 games to lead all postseason players. Brayden Point has also been fantastic and leads the playoffs with 14 goals.
That being said, I think Tampa Bay would give either of those guys up before they would give up Andrei Vasilevskiy. The Lightning goaltender leads all netminders these playoffs with a .935 save percentage. He’s pitched four shutouts and his 24.8 GSAx is more than double the next closest goaltender, who’s actually Price.
As good as the Lightning are across their forwards and defensemen, Vasilevskiy has been the difference. Even if they make a mistake, which they don’t make many, and give Montreal an odd-man rush, Vasilevskiy is able to bail them out. During the finals, he has a .932 save percentage and a 1.13 GSAx compared to -2.74 GSAx for Price this series.
Tampa Bay is such a deep team, rolling four lines that all have an xGoals percentage more than 55% during this postseason. The top-five leading scorers these playoffs are members of the Lightning and have nine skaters with at least 10 points through the team’s 22 games.
The Lightning have dominated the High Danger Chances for with a 38-23 advantage at 5-on-5 this series, outscoring the Canadians by a 16-8 margin.
Betting Analysis & Pick
As awesome as Montreal’s run has been, it appears it has finally met its match. The Canadiens go as far as Price takes them, but he’s clearly the second-best goaltender in the series.
Montreal’s strength has been its top four defensemen and how it has been able to shut down its opponents’ top guys. Well, Tampa Bay’s defense is even better, and guys like Victor Hedman and Ryan McDonagh have been as good as any defenseman in the league during this run.
Tampa Bay dropped Game 4 in Montreal, despite playing their best game of the series. Now, the Lightning return to Amalie Arena, where they have average 4.09 goals per game and are 8-3 this postseason.
The Lightning are 14-0 following a loss over their last two postseason runs. They haven’t lost consecutive playoff games since 2019, a steak of 47 consecutive games.
The mayor of Tampa took some heat for saying she wanted the team to drop Game 4, so it can raise the Cup in front of its home fans and I think she’s going to get her wish.
Vasilevskiy has been terrific following a loss. That said, I expect him and the Bolts to come out flying and finish the night celebrating on home ice.
Pick: Tampa Bay To Win in Regulation (-134)