NHL Betting Guide: Monday 6/28/21

Andrei Vasilevskiy leads goalies in playoff save percentage. Can he lead the Lightning to victory in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals?

This is it. Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals goes tonight, which means that we have no more than seven games left in the NHL season. One of the Tampa Bay Lightning or Montreal Canadiens will hoist the Stanley Cup, and we're here to outline plays worth making from our daily projections.

Please note that lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published. Please check here to make sure you're seeing the most updated information.

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens

Lightning moneyline (-196): 1-Star Rating Out of 5

The Lightning have used home ice to their advantage to help get them to the Stanley Cup Finals, winning six of nine games, including four of their last six. During that six-game span, they've put up 10 or more high-danger chances in four of those games and 34 or more scoring chances in three of six. But as good as their offense has been on home ice this season, they owe a lot of their playoff success to Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Vasilevskiy leads goalies in save percentage with a 93.6% mark through 18 playoff games. His 1.99 goals-against average is nearly equally as impressive, ranking second among playoff goalies, while playing 11 more games than the goalie who ranks ahead of him, Jack Campbell. What separates Vasilevskiy from the rest of the pack is his ability to stop quality chances, as he's stopping 88.6% of high-danger chances at home so far this postseason.

What will make Vasilevskiy's job easier is that the Canadiens don't sell out offensively, taking a more opportunistic approach offensively. Montreal hasn't attempted more than 24 scoring chances at five-on-five in any of their last five games. High-danger chances have been more of a priority for the Habs, but it has been all or nothing from them over their recent sample. Montreal has attempted eight or fewer quality chances in three of their last six. Even if they do break through, Vasilevskiy has shown that he's up to the challenge so far this postseason.

Based on our projections, the Lightning should be more substantive favorites than they are. They have a projected 70.4% chance of winning, which implies that any price below -235 is worth backing the Bolts. At the current price, there's a projected 6.3% return on your investment, which warrants a one-star rating.