The Montreal Canadiens reached the Stanley Cup final as an underdog in every single round of these playoffs.
If Game 1 against the Tampa Bay Lightning is any indication, this will be their toughest test by far.
The Lightning struck first with a 5-1 win over Montreal in the opener of Stanley Cup final on Monday night.
While the Habs had longer odds to beat each of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Vegas Golden Knights, Game 1 versus Tampa Bay was easily the most lopsided game that they have been on the wrong side of so far this postseason.
The updated series winner odds reflect that.
Here is the Morning Coffee for Tuesday June 29, 2021.
Lightning strike first in Stanley Cup final
The Lightning were -270 to win the Stanley Cup entering Game 1.
That number represents a 73 per cent implied win probability.
After a dominant win in the opener, Tampa Bay is now -700 to win the series – an 87.5 per cent implied win probability.
Montreal’s odds to win the Stanley Cup more than doubled from +220 to +500.
Anyone who watched Game 1 won’t be surprised.
Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point delivered a dominant performance, combining for six points in the win.
From @JohnLuTSNMtl & @jenniferhedger: Getting Brayden Point’s line away from Phillip Danault’s line and bringing the physicality was key for Lightning in Game 1 - https://t.co/qSidbGndmH#TSNHockey | #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/adB4tjJcHB— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) June 29, 2021
The Lightning controlled possession, firing 28 shots at Carey Price from the slot, including four that ended up in the back of the net.
The Habs struggled to generate quality chances at the other end of the ice, and when they did the Conn Smythe Trophy favourite Andrei Vasilevskiy was there to turn them away.
Vasilevskiy stopped 18 of the 19 shots he faced – the lone blemish was a double-deflection off a slap shot from the point that changed directions twice before finding the back of the net.
As of this morning, Vasilevskiy is now even-money to win the Conn Smythe Trophy.
Doing it in just 19 games, Nikita Kucherov's 2G-1A effort in a @TBLightning win on Monday has put him at the 30-playoff point mark for a 2nd straight season. The remarkable production has put him with the 2 most dominant scorers in NHL history on this list of consecutive PO years pic.twitter.com/HvmwwC3v2s— StatsCentre (@StatsCentre) June 29, 2021
Kucherov is the second choice at +150, followed by Brayden Point at +250.
Teams that win the opener of best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final have gone on to win the series 75 per cent of the time (61-20).
Of course, Montreal lost the opener of its Stanley Cup semi-final versus Vegas, only to win four of the next five to advance.
From @tsnjamesduthie, @djpoulin20, @odognine2 & @DarrenDreger: The lessons and positives the Montreal Canadiens can take from their Game 1 loss - https://t.co/aPUnoSFihN#TSNHockey | #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/KmWxKQL29X— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) June 29, 2021
Still, there aren’t many positives for Habs’ fans to take from Game 1.
While they beat both the Maple Leafs and Golden Knights at longer odds, winning four of the next six versus Tampa Bay will undoubtedly be the toughest test of the playoffs for the Canadiens.
Clippers avoid elimination in Phoenix
Paul George scored a playoff career-high 41 points as the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Phoenix Suns 116-102 to avoid elimination in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals on Monday night.
Reggie Jackson finished with 23 points. Marcus Morris Sr. scored 22.
Context for Clippers win vs Suns in Game 5:— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 29, 2021
Clippers now have 7 wins when trailing in a playoff series, the most in a single postseason in NBA history
Paul George is the 2nd player with 40 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 75% shooting in a playoff game, joining Patrick Ewing. pic.twitter.com/Rb5k00pgpB
It was the Clippers’ seventh win in these playoffs when trailing in a series, which is the most such wins by any team in a single postseason in NBA history.
After rallying from down 2-0 to advance in each of the first two rounds, could George and company actually win three straight without Kawhi Leonard to advance to the NBA Finals?
With the series now 3-2, Phoenix is still -600 to advance. The Clippers are +425 to complete the comeback.
Switzerland stuns France at Euro 2020
Switzerland was a +7000 long shot to win EURO 2020 when the tournament kicked off earlier this month.
France was the betting favourite to win it at +450.
So when France went up 3-1 on Switzerland in the 75th minute of their Round of 16 showdown, it seemed as though that matchup would play out exactly as expected.
Not so fast.
Switzerland rallied with two goals in the final 10 minutes to tie it at 3-3 and force extra time.
After holding off France until penalty kicks, the Swiss buried all five of their chances to clinch a 5-4 shootout victory.
According to ESPN’s win probability model, France had a 99.2 per cent chance to win before Switzerland rallied.
When they were down 3-1, the Swiss were +1500 just to force extra time.
Meanwhile, Switzerland’s next opponent was nearly the victim of a similar upset earlier in the day.
Spain led Croatia 3-1 before conceding consecutive goals in the final minutes of regulation.
Trailing by two goals, Croatia was +1600 just to force a draw through 90 minutes.
While they managed to tie it, Croatia wasn’t able to complete the upset.
Spain rallied with a pair of goals in extra time for the 5-3 win, becoming the first team in tournament history to score five goals in consecutive matches.
Spain was -250 to reach the quarter-finals when the tournament kicked off – the shortest odds of any team.
The Round of 16 wraps up this afternoon on TSN with a heavyweight bout between England and Germany, followed by Sweden versus Ukraine.
Djokovic advances, Tsitsipas out at Wimbledon
Novak Djokovic rolled to a 16-0 all-time record in opening matches at Wimbledon with a four-set win over Jack Draper.
Djokovic, who entered the tournament as the consensus favourite at -125, is now -175 to win his third major in a row.
Part of that adjustment might have to do with the fact that Stefanos Tsitsipas, who was the third choice to win the tournament, was upset by Frances Tiafoe in straight sets.
Tiafoe was previously 0-11 all-time against ATP top-five ranked players.
TSN’s exclusive live coverage of Wimbledon resumes this morning across the network.