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Montreal Canadiens to win 

Trailing 2-0 in the series heading home, the Canadiens could be deflated, but they should be more resilient. Yes, they gave the Lightning their best shot and still lost, but Game 2 proved that Montreal can actually dictate in a game against a dominant team.

The Habs actually out-shot and out-chanced the Lightning at five-on-five. They just couldn’t seem to solve Andrei Vasilevskiy, which could remain a problem in Game 3. However, being on home ice is going to allow Montreal to dictate more of the matchups and find some favorable situations for their best offensive players. They can shelter rookie Cole Caufield a bit more, and get him into better matchups even though he held his own better in Game 2.

Additionally, Tampa Bay has not won three consecutive games in these playoffs yet and have lost two of their three previous Game 3s. Montreal has had two games to get a better feel for how to slow down their offense. In Game 2, Tampa Bay had its worst shot attempt percentage at even strength of the entire postseason, which is why they all owe Vasilevskiy a nice steak dinner.

Montreal will also be getting their head coach back as Dominique Ducharme’s quarantine period following a positive COVID diagnosis will end. They handled things well while he was away, but it will be interesting to see what kind of impact he can have on the bench after watching the team from a distance.

Under 5.5 total goals 

Carey Price has been especially locked in on home ice, which is why I like their chances a bit more at this point. Price has really been locked in the whole postseason, but with a .935 save percentage on Bell Centre ice, he’s looked superhuman at times.

If Montreal is going to win this game, it’s probably going to be a low-scoring affair. The two goalies in this series can keep things tight. Even though Price has given up eight goals through the first two games, looking more human than he has all spring and summer, he knows how to shut the door.

It should also be a low-scoring game because Andrei Vasilevskiy has a .942 road save percentage so far these playoffs. You can’t do much better than that. It’s going to take a lot to put a puck past these two goaltenders.

Nick Suzuki to score 1+ points 

At several points over the course of Game 2, Nick Suzuki looked like he was just going to put Montreal on his back and drag them across the finish line. He had nine shots and Montreal’s only goal in the game while playing 18:51.

With the Habs able to dictate matchups more, Ducharme can put Suzuki in better positions to succeed. That probably means getting him away from the defensive responsibilities he needs when going head-to-head with Tampa’s top line. That assignment will likely go to Philip Danault.

If they can manage that matchup, Suzuki gets freed up offensively a bit more and should play significant minutes. He’s been a big-game player and there hasn’t been a bigger game yet this postseason with his squad desperate for a win.

Under 60.5 total shots on goal 

Montreal has been a pretty solid shot-suppression team in these playoffs. Even though they’re averaging 31 shots on goal for and 31 against on home ice this season, they know they’ve got to really muck this game up to have a chance.

I fully expect Montreal to slow this one down as much as possible, tighten up their defensive zone play and make it more difficult for the Lightning to get through the neutral zone and get clean shots away on Price.

Even though this is not an elimination game, expect Montreal to play like their lives are on the line.

BETWAY BOOST: Montreal Canadiens to win & Nick Suzuki to score 1+ points 


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