CUP FINAL GAME 4: 3 KEYS TO VICTORY
Tampa Bay Lightning 2020-21.
This team is a powerhouse with the best goalie since Martin Brodeur in the pipes behind a defensive depth that is just too good. Headlined by the best defenseman in the league in Victor Hedman along with a shot blocking machine in Ryan McDonough and the young but very effective Mikhail Sergachev.
Now normally when a team has two out of three areas of positions as strengths the last one is pretty weak but that is not the case here. Thanks to the handiwork with the cap, the Bolts have once again a very dangerous forward group. Overall, this Lightning team is the best team since the Redwings of 2001-02.
That is high praise considering the Blackhawks dynasty and the Penguins back-to-back cups but this team takes the cake.
Pretty hard to see the Bolts lose a cup final against the Canadiens being up 3-0. With this team and if it happens, it would be the greatest miracle in hockey history next to the 1980 USA men’s team beating the vaunted Russian team. Then again, it may be on par with that.
Here are the 3 keys to the Bolts winning game four.
Key one: Keep the same pace.
Tampa has been clearly the better team thus far in this series and they should continue that same pace in order to win the Cup. Dont allow the Habs to get in to the game. Score first and often. Win the Game in the First Period. The Canadian Government are only allowing 3500 fans in to the stadium. These are a boisterous bunch and they can give the team in red a lift. We saw a little of that in game three. Take the crowd out early and you will be lifting your third cup and second in a row.
Key Two: Give Andrei Vasilevskiy a break.
The superb goaltending of Vasilevskiy has been a Major key in this series but they should score more on Price. So that he is not overworked. If that happens then the Bolts would be on the ropes. Vasilevskiy is the presumptive favourite to win the Conn Smythe trophy. Keep the Canadiens out of the crease and he wins it.
Key Three: Shoot shoot shoot.
Price has been very mediocre, at best, so far this series and when the other goalie is being this underwhelming, then you fire away. If the Lightning’s players keep their play on the offensive end, then this series should be over in four regardless of how the Habs play. Again this goes in conjunction with the first key. Don’t let the Habs get into the game.
The most historic franchise in hockey, comparable to the Yankees in baseball, Lakers in basketball, or Cowboys in football. This year’s team has been perhaps the most surprising. This may be the unlikeliest run this team has ever had as the only other underdog run they previously had was in 1971. Where keep in mind there were fewer teams.
The Habs entered the playoffs last in the playoff standings and had a date with their rivals, the Leafs. The Leafs got shut down, then they played the Jets whose defense underwhelmed comparable to Montreal’s forward depth. Next came the powerhouse Golden Knights whom top players got somehow shut down by Montreal’s defense depth. Price has also been outstanding in net as this run has been compared to other great underdog goalie runs just as Rinne’s in 2017, Quick’s in 2012 and Binnington in 2019.
So far against the Lightning though the Habs have dried up their offense against Vasilevskiy and they have not been able to shut down the Bolts top players. To have a chance in this series a lot has to go right and the government not expanding the limit of fans in the arena certainly does not help. The things the Habs need to do to get back in this series is:
Key one: Get Carey Price back into form.
In order to come back from a 3-0 series a team must have a goalie perform greatly and the Habs do have that goalie. Problem is he has not shown up yet in this series and if the same happens in game four the Habs are toast.
Key two: Shut down the Bolts.
Tampa has a lineup that is not comparable in this era but the Habs have also shut down top scoring squads in previous matchups to the Leafs and Vegas. Tampa is a different animal, but they still have the tools to shut them down through Danault’s line. Do this one shift at a time.
Key Three: Get a boost.
The Canadiens need a burst of energy desperately and unfortunately with the Quebec government shutting down more fans entering they can not get it from the energy of the crowd. The thing about the Habs is that they have tons of energy players though from heart and soul Brendan Gallagher to gritty veteran Corey Perry, all the Habs need is one of them to provide a boost and the Habs could win game four.
Win one shift at a time. Step by step, brick by brick. You are not trying to win four games but just small parts of the moment. Stay in the moment and don’t focus on anything but the next shift. This then becomes an easier task.
I doubt the Habs come back as it has never happened in a Stanley Cup Final before. If they do, it would be the greatest cup story of all time. It would also be an amazing way to win your 25th Cup. Take it shift by shift and the monumental task becomes smaller and more manageable.
In reality, though the Tampa Bay squad is way too strong to not finish this team and the result will probably be a sweep despite the Canadiens best efforts. Tampa Bay has to not look ahead but keep their heads on and strait. This is how they lift the cup.
That is My View From the North