Game 5 of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final goes tonight between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Montreal Canadiens. The Canadiens were able to avoid elimination and a sweep in Game 4 Monday night defeating the Lightning 3-2 in overtime. Heading into Game 5, the Lightning are just one win away from winning back-to-back Stanley Cups. While the Canadiens are looking to avoid elimination once more and improve their record to 5-0 in elimination games this postseason.
There is so much on the line for the Lightning as the pressure mounts as they are expected to win the Stanley Cup against a weaker Canadiens team. However, do not count out this Canadiens team. Game 5 is going to be a crucial game for sure. Either the Stanley Cup will be awarded Wednesday night in Tampa or there will be a Game 6 Friday night back in Montreal.
Let’s take a look at some keys to Game 5 of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final between Montreal and Tampa Bay.
2021 Stanley Cup Final: Keys To Game 5
1. Avoiding Mistakes
For the Montreal Canadiens to take this series back to Montreal for a Game 6, the Canadiens must avoid costly mistakes. The Canadiens were able to get away with them in Game 4, but the Lightning are just too good to keep testing fate. The two goals that the Lightning did score in Game 4 came off of Montreal mistakes. The first goal came on a failure to get the puck out of the zone which led to the Barclay Goodrow goal. The second came when the Canadiens failed to get the puck deep into the Lightning zone. In both cases, the Lightning were able to create odd-man rushes and cash in on their opportunities.
And through the first three games of the series that the Lightning won, they capitalized on Montreal turnovers. The Canadiens must limit these mistakes. We all know mistakes will happen, but against a good team like the Lightning, they cannot happen or else they will be in the back of the net.
2. Scoring First
Through the first four games of the series, the team that has scored first has won the game. And both teams have excellent records when scoring first this postseason. The Lightning are 14-2 this postseason when scoring first. Tampa Bay is 0-4 when they give up the first goal. The Canadiens are 12-2 this postseason when scoring the first goal. 1-6 when they give up the first goal. To say the first goal is important is an understatement. The first goal is so important and sets the tone on how the game will be played especially Montreal with that lockdown defensive style.
3. Staying Out Of The Penalty Box
Another key for both teams, but mostly Montreal is staying out of the penalty box. The Canadiens penalty kill has been coming up large in the finals. It has been a trend that has made them so successful this post-season. But they were playing with fire in Game 4 allowing the Lightning five power-play opportunities. And the Lightning had good looks on the power play especially on the double minor high sticking penalty to Shea Weber that carried into overtime. Montreal was able to kill that one off and win Game 4, but they cannot continue to give the Lightning this many looks. Eventually, the puck will go in. The Lightning have scored twice on the power play in the Stanley Cup Final. So the odds are in the Lightning’s favour to score more.
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4. Handling The Pressure
There is pressure on the Lightning to win. Everyone expects them to. However, it is how they handle the pressure that will determine if they win the Stanley Cup in Game 5. The coaches, players, and fans all know what is on the line. And having the potential Cup-clinching game on home ice adds to the pressure. But the Lightning have shown all season they can handle the pressure of being a favourite. Head coach Jon Cooper always has his team prepared to play against their opponent. It all goes back to key number 2. Look for the Lightning to be aggressive and strike first trying to end the series early.
5. Relying On Past Success
Another key for Lightning is to rely on past success. Over the past two postseasons, the Lightning are 13-0 after a loss. This team does not lose back-to-back games. So history is on their side. The last time they lost back-to-back games in the postseason is when they were swept out of the playoffs by Columbus in 2019. The Lightning know how to handle adversity, especially after a loss.
On the Canadiens side of things, they are 4-0 in elimination games this postseason. Montreal is playing with house money and having nothing to lose. That is when a team is more relaxed and dangerous to play against. Montreal knows what it takes to stave off elimination. Look for them to try to do it again in Game 5.
The lineups are going to be the same for puck drop. Enjoy the game.