NHL Betting Guide: Wednesday 7/7/21

Andrei Vasilevskiy has a good history of bouncing back from subpar outings this postseason. Can he help the Lightning secure the Cup on home ice in Game 5?

The Montreal Canadiens lived to fight another day after a dramatic overtime victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 4. That shifted the series to a 3-1 advantage for the Lightning, but based on our projections, that's as close as the Habs should get.

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens

Lightning moneyline (-230): 1-Star Rating Out of 5

The Lightning can close out the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs on home ice with a victory over the Habs. Their efforts from the first few games of the series suggest that we should expect more domination from Tampa in Game 5.

Tampa posted their highest expected goals-for percentage of the postseason in Game 4. The Bolts percentage at five-on-five was 70.7%, jumping to 71.2% across all strengths, controlling all facets of the game.

Offensively, the Bolts out-possessed, out-shot, and out-chanced the Habs by a substantial margin. Their 62.5% Corsi rating across all strengths was also a playoff-high for the Lightning, and they managed 34 shots, 26 scoring opportunities, and 16 high-danger chances in nearly 64 minutes of action.

That is a continuation of superb efforts throughout this series. Tampa is averaging 27.8 scoring chances, 10.8 high-danger chances, and 28.5 shots in the Stanley Cup Finals, out-chancing the Canadiens in scoring chances in three of four games.

More impressively, the Lightning have been effective at limiting opportunities against. Montreal has been limited to seven high-danger chances in three of the four games this series and 20 scoring chances in each of the last two games. The Lightning's advantage only increases with the series shifting back to Tampa Bay for Game 5.

We should also expect a bounce-back effort from Andrei Vasilevskiy after he put up an 85.7% save percentage on Monday night, despite facing only 21 shots. The last two times that Vasilevskiy posted a save percentage below 90.0%, he responded with a shutout in the following game.

Our projections give the Lightning a substantive 70.7% chance of clinching the Stanley Cup on home ice on Wednesday night. That makes backing them on the moneyline a one-star play.