The Stanley Cup Final matchup is set and we’ll get a little bit of old and a little bit of new. The most storied franchise in hockey history, the Montreal Canadiens, will face off against the 24th team added to the league, the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Canadiens are playing in their record 35th Final, but their first since 1993. The Lightning are playing in their fourth Final and are the current defending champions.
To nobody’s surprise, the Lightning are fairly sizable favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook. They’re installed at -250 to win the series while the Canadiens are +210. Tampa Bay is -195 on the moneyline for Game 1 while Montreal is +165.
Tampa Bay didn’t have a spectacular season by any stretch, but they finished third in the Central division, which was enough to get them in. They have turned it up a significant notch since then, beating Florida in six and Carolina in five. They had to find another gear against the Islanders in the semifinals, but finished them off with a 1-0 shutout in the seventh game.
On the other side, Montreal only made it in because of how the playoff structure was realigned for this season. Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, the NHL realigned divisions so they had a purely Canadian division. Teams only played within their division and the top four teams in each of the four divisions made the playoffs. Montreal finished fourth in the North division, which got them the final slot. Their overall record was 18th best in the league, but they still got to be one of the final 16 teams. They went to seven games against Toronto in the first round, but then swept Winnipeg in the second round and were the clearly better team in a six-game series win over Vegas.