Face-off: 1900 ET, 28/12/2021
Venue: Amalie Arena
Tampa Bay hosts Montreal in a rematch of last season’s Stanley Cup final as NHL action returns following a Covid-lengthened Christmas break.
The Lightning came out on top in that decider and when visiting the Canadiens earlier this month, although only by a narrow margin at Bell Centre.
This should be more convincing and 1.95 for a home win by over 1.5 goals begins our Tampa Bay Lightning vs Montreal Canadiens predictions.
Tampa Bay Lightning Odds
Tampa Bay are top of the Atlantic Division on 44 points from 30 games, with Montreal 27 back in last place after playing one match more.
The Lightning completed a hat-trick of wins when prevailing 4-3 at Vegas a week ago and have come out on top in eight of their last nine fixtures.
They have been hit by Covid protocols ahead of this contest, with top two goaltenders Andrei Vasilevskiy and Brian Elliott both out.
Forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and defenseman Mikhail Sergachev were yesterday joined by Anthony Cirelli and Andrej Sustr on the sidelines.
“That’s definitely the world we’re in right now,” said captain Steven Stamkos. “Especially with the new variant.
“You just hope that everyone has very mild symptoms and it doesn’t spread throughout their families or things like that.”
It will be a similar story for both teams, though, and Tampa should have the greater strength in depth to cope better.
Stamkos has been in fine form with seven points from five outings and his presence will be reassuring.
In what could be an open encounter, NHL odds.
Montreal Canadiens Odds
Montreal last played 12 days ago when ending a seven-match winless run by shading Philadelphia 3-2 via a shootout in Canada.
Covid caused their next four fixtures to be postponed and the Canadiens are still decimated by the pandemic.
Defensemen Ben Chiarot, Joel Edmundson, Jeff Petry and Chris Wideman, plus goaltender Jake Allen have been added to the absentee list.
Montreal were already without Laurent Dauphin, Mike Hoffman, Artturi Lehkonen and Tyler Toffoli.
The Canadiens head the table for most goals conceded in the third period and are only one score off the summit in the middle stanza.
Another late collapse would make 13.0 for a 5-2 scoreline.
Vegas 3-4 TAMPA BAY
MONTREAL 3-2 Philadelphia (OT)
Head-to-head: Montreal 2-3 Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay 1-0 Montreal, Montreal 3-2 Tampa Bay, Montreal 3-6 Tampa Bay
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