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Canadiens vs. Lightning Stanley Cup Final Game 3: Preview, start time, Tale of the Tape, and how to watch

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The Canadiens are no strangers to having to claw their way back into a series.

NHL: JAN 02 Lightning at Canadiens Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

2021 Stanley Cup Final Game 3

Montreal Canadiens vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

TBL leads 2-0

How to watch

Start time: 8:00 PM EDT / 5:00 PM PDT
In Canada: CBC, Sportsnet (English), TVA Sports (French)
In the U.S.: NBC
Elsewhere: NHL.tv/NHL Live

The Canadiens may have outshot the Lightning 43-23 in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, but it was Tampa who ended up scoring 75 percent of the goals.

While Nick Suzuki was able to finally get one past Andrei Vasilevskiy to tie it up in the second period, Blake Coleman squashed the excitement with a buzzer-beater that ended up being the game-winning goal. It was a prime example of how you should never stop playing until the clock runs out. With 1.1 seconds left, he dove for the puck and slipped it right past Carey Price to put the Lightning back in the lead heading into the third.

“I thought we played a heckuva hockey game tonight,” said Corey Perry following the loss. “But at the same time, it wasn’t enough. We’ve got to find that extra gear.” He’s right on both accounts. The Canadiens did play one heckuva game, much better than Game 1, but in order to defeat their toughest opponent yet — the defending champs — they absolutely need to figure out the secret to solving Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Tale of the Tape

Canadiens Statistic Lightning
Canadiens Statistic Lightning
0-2 Record 2-0
48.7% (8th) Corsi-for pct. 47.7% (6th)
2.37(12th) Goals per game 3.30 (2nd)
2.37 (3rd) Goals against per game 1.95 (1st)
20.8% (7th) PP% 35.6% (3rd)
92.3% (1st) PK% 82.8% (4th)

Vasilevskiy outplayed, well, everyone, stopping every Hab except Suzuki and bailing out any mistake that his own teammates made. And obviously his defence partners were not up to snuff considering the shots and scoring chances they allowed during the 60 minutes. In the first two games of the series, Vasilevskiy is flaunting a .968 save percentage. After allowing their goaltender to get peppered with shots on Wednesday night, expect to see Tampa’s defence step it up a notch tonight.

Let’s just hope that one defenceman in particular doesn’t kick it up too much more than he already has. One would think that Mikhail Sergachev has it out for the Canadiens in more ways than one. After smashing Brendan Gallagher’s head (helmet-free, mind you) into the ice in Game 1, he took out Artturi Lehkonen in Game 2 with a dirty hit that sent him flying into the boards so hard his helmet came off and forced him to the room. Luckily he was back on the bench for the third period.

Mathieu Joseph drew in for Alex Killorn, who’s currently out with a lower-body injury after blocking a Jeff Petry shot in the second period of Game 1. Killorn has travelled to Montreal, but his availability for Game 3 is unknown as he’s still day-to-day.

Montreal will have interim coach Dominique Ducharme back behind the bench for Game 3 after being sidelined since Game 2 of the series against the Vegas Golden Knights due to testing positive for COVID-19.

Despite a request to increase the Bell Centre crowd capacity to 10,500 for the remainder of the Stanley Cup Final, there will still just be 3,500 fans allowed inside the building. But as we’ve heard already during the playoffs 3,500 Bell Centre fans can easily sound like the larger crowds of Vegas or Tampa. “They’ll still be loud and proud to be in there, so we’re really excited to get back home and play in front of our fans,” said Cole Caufield.

One thing the Canadiens should really aim for is to be the first on the scoreboard tonight, because they’re 11-2 when they’re the first to light the lamp. They’ll be back on home soil, their coach will be back, and they’ll have fans cheering them on inside, outside and across the country.

This series is far from over and the Canadiens know it. They’re no strangers to trailing in a series. They’re also no strangers to pulling ahead and grabbing the series by the horns. As everyone knows, anything can happen.