NHL Hockey Betting: Montreal Canadiens at Tampa Bay Lightning

NHL Hockey Betting:  Montreal Canadiens at Tampa Bay Lightning

We’re getting down to the last few teams in the NHL playoffs. Six teams remain alive in the chase for the Stanley Cup–the Western Conference finals are set as the Chicago Blackhawks will face the Anaheim Ducks with Game One set for Friday night at the Honda Center. Four teams remain in the East–Washington and the New York Rangers will play Game Seven of that series at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night while the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning will contest Game Six of their Eastern Conference semifinal series tonight in the ‘Cigar City’.

Tampa Bay really should be watching the playoffs on TV at this point–not because they should have been eliminated but because they should have dispatched the Canadiens by now. Tampa opened up a 3-0 lead in this series only to take their foot off the throat. Now Montreal can tie it up at 3-3 with a win tonight and set up a decisive Game Seven at the Bell Centre. Tampa Bay has been lucky to get this far–their high scoring offense has been held in check during the postseason. Leading scorer Steven Stamkos has been a non-factor. The only reason they’re still in the hunt is a better than expected run of play by goaltender Ben Bishop. The only problem is that even at his best he’s still not at the level of the presumptive Vezina and Hart trophy winner Carey Price, aka the best goalie in hockey.

The Habs haven’t been scoring either but they’re used to winning this way. Tampa Bay isn’t. So not only are they playing the Canadiens’ preferred style but now have a ton of pressure on them after blowing a 3-0 lead. They’re fortunate that Tampa isn’t a hockey town–the locals will be fixated on football soon enough–but that still doesn’t negate the fact that blowing a 3-0 lead doesn’t sit well with your fan base.

Montreal is now the more confident team and the two straight wins have largely erased the mojo of the Bolts’ seven game winning streak against the Canadiens. The Habs are the better team and we look for them to take advantage of the new life they’ve been afforded.