The 2021 Stanley Cup Final is being extended for another game. The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning by a score of 3-2 in overtime in Game 4 of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final. Give credit to the Canadiens for not going out in four straight. The Lightning did their best to end the series on Monday night but just did not get the puck to bounce their way. Maybe it was best for them not to win in on the road. This way they do not have to win it inside a bubble environment as they did in 2020.
But with history being on the line for the Lightning, the pressure is also mounting. The Lightning are expected to win the Stanley Cup on Wednesday night. The Canadiens are playing with nothing to lose. Montreal again faces elimination and is playing with house money. Nobody expected them to win Game 4 and they did. Now with the series is shifting back to Tampa for Game 5 and the Canadiens are one win away from making this a more interesting series.
However, with the Stanley Cup being in the building again for Game 5 players think about what it will be like winning it again. This is something head coach Jon Cooper is trying to block out heading back to Tampa. Even though the Mayor of Tampa stated she wanted the team to lose Game 4 and win it on home ice in Game 5, sometimes it is best to end the series on the road. And do not tempt fate or the hockey gods. There is also an added pressure of playing in front of your home crowd with so much on the line.
So many times teams come back home up in the series and all they think about is winning in front of friends and families. Not to mention the loyal fan base. Every player dreams of winning the Stanley Cup in front of their home crowd. That means every player is playing with little extra nerves. And that is to be expected. Who wouldn’t feel nervous trying to close out a series on home ice with the Stanley Cup on the line? It is natural. While the first few shifts for the Lightning may seem off, do not expect them to wilt under the pressure of being expected to win. With the way the Lightning have been embracing this run this year, you can expect a rowdy crowd inside Amalie Arena on Wednesday night. However, that does not mean it will be easy.
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The fourth win is always the toughest and the Lightning know this. Tampa Bay came out early in Game 4 looking to end the game and the series in the first period. Do not be surprised if they try the same strategy when Game 5 starts. However, the Canadiens are known for their fast starts as well. And with so much on the line, the Lightning will feel the pressure. But it is how a team embraces that pressure that makes all the difference. And the Lightning are embracing adversity ever since their defeat at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2019.
However, Montreal has got a win in the series now and has beaten Andrei Vasilevskiy once. It is definitely tough to do it four games in a row. And with the way this Lightning team bounces back after a loss, you know the players are ready to win the Stanley Cup in Game 5. Tampa Bay should have won Game 4 and didn’t. They will be ready to play in Game 5. But so to will Montreal. And if the Canadiens score first to take the crowd out of it early then doubts creep in. But the Lightning are a resilient hockey club and have shown nothing will faze them. But there is a little added something when you are one win away from history.
The team that can handle the energy of the day will be the one that will be victorious. And as previously mentioned, the Canadiens are playing with house money. Nobody expects them to win. The ball is in the Lightning’s court to come up with the goods when it is closing time in the series.