The Tampa Bay Lightning have won seven straight home games over the Montreal Canadiens, and if the Lightning can make it eight in a row Wednesday night they will be up 2-0 in the 2021 Stanley Cup Final and halfway to repeating as champions. The Bolts are -210 favorites on the William Hill Sportsbook NHL odds even though they will be missing a key forward in Alex Killorn, while Montreal is expected to get one of its key forwards back in Joel Armia. Click here for expert picks on Game 2.
Killorn suffered a lower-body injury – they never say what any injury is in hockey – when blocking a shot from Montreal defenseman Jeff Petry midway through the second period of Game 1. Killorn played through it briefly but eventually had to leave and is being called "day-to-day." He's not Nikita Kucherov or Steven Stamkos or Brayden Point, but Killorn has eight goals (second on team) and nine assists in these playoffs (four power-play goals and four power-play assists) and had 15 goals and 18 assists in 56 regular-season games.
Killorn plays on the second line with Stamkos and Anthony Cirelli and is on the top power-play unit and part of the penalty kill for Tampa Bay. The Bolts have used the same forward group through these playoffs and it's not clear who may take his spot. Coach Jon Cooper may use defenseman Luke Schenn and a lineup of 11 forwards and seven defensemen. That's what he did when forward Barclay Goodrow missed three games vs. the Florida Panthers.
Tampa Bay has won four straight home games overall and has never won five in a row at home in one postseason. The Lightning look to take a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history.
As for Armia, he landed in COVID protocols over the weekend and didn't originally fly with the team to Tampa. He arrived via private plane Monday but was scratched regardless. During Wednesday morning's practice, Armia was out there skating with Corey Perry and Eric Staal. Armia is being officially called a game-time decision. Considering Jake Evans was in a non-contact jersey at practice Wednesday, that would seem to indicate Evans takes a seat for Armia.
Some interesting betting trends from NHL.com:
- The Lightning own an all-time record of 21-10 (.677) in Game 2 of a best-of-seven series.
- The Canadiens own an all-time record of 82-41 (.667) in Game 2 of a best-of-seven series.
- Montreal has won Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final after dropping Game 1 in each of its last four Final appearances (1993, 1989, 1986 & 1979)
- Montreal has a 3-2 record after a loss during these playoffs.
- Each of the last three Stanley Cup champions overcame a 1-0 series deficit in the Final.
Looking for the best picks against the spread, sharp action on the total and props you can take to the window? Join Jonathan Coachman on the Early Edge as he speaks with SportsLine's top handicappers to preview every day's biggest games. We promise to keep it short, sweet and to put some green in your pocket. Early Edge is under 10 minutes and in your feed every single day by 11 AM ET. Download right here or wherever you get your podcasts.