Will this be the end of the 2021 NHL season, or will we shift things back to Tampa Bay?
It won’t be long until we’ll get an answer as the Tampa Bay Lightning look for back-to-back Stanley Cup titles, while Montreal will fight to get themselves out of an 0-3 series deficit.
Here are three things to watch for this evening.
A strong start for Montreal
In all three games of this series, Tampa Bay has found a way onto the scoresheet first. A big factor for Montreal to have a shot at getting back into this series is pushing the pace much as they did in Game 2 along with not chasing the game for a tying goal.
Even in a losing effort, Game 3 did see Montreal’s offense show life as they were able to beat Andrei Vasilevskiy three times. The three goals were the first time all series long they were able to score more than once in a game and the first time period in the playoffs since Game 6 of their semifinal series matchup vs. Vegas.
Montreal’s Lineup changes
Dominique Ducharme didn’t make any changes to the roster in Game 3 but that will change for Game 4. Jesperi Kotkaniemi will sit in favor of Jake Evans, while blueliners Jon Merill and Erik Gustafsson will watch Brett Kulak and Alexander Romanov take their place.
Can Tampa Bay Actually Pull Off the Sweep?
No matter the situation in regards to not having families in Montreal for the Lightning and the talk of “Tampa Bay should lose Game 4 to win it at home” if you’re Tampa Bay that’s an idea you’re not even entertaining. You want to win Lord Stanley’s Cup tonight at the Bell Centre no matter who’s in the building.
One thing is true though, the Lightning do not usually sweep teams in the playoffs.
In the near 30 seasons of Tampa Bay Lightning hockey, they’ve won 106 playoff games, have a playoff series record of 21-10 to go with their two Stanley Cups.
In terms of series sweeps, Tampa Bay has only swept a series twice, with the last one coming in 2010-11 when they swept the Washington Capitals in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Jon Cooper’s squad has to take the crowd out of this game early and once again roll his four lines that have been making this series the most challenging one yet for Carey Price and Montreal’s defense.