“Some of the top offensive players on the teams Montreal has played have been absent. No one is absent on the Tampa Bay Lightning.” – Keith Jones
“The Montreal Canadiens are going to have an easier time getting back across the Canadian border.” – Anson Carter on Tampa Bay’s play at the blue lines
“I don’t think they get enough credit for how good they are defensively. You talk about a complete team – there’s not a lot of room when they don’t have the puck.” – Eddie Olczyk on the Lightning
STAMFORD, Conn. – June 28, 2021 – NBC Sports began its exclusive presentation of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final tonight with Game 1 between the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla., on NBCSN.
Kenny Albert, Eddie Olczyk, and Brian Boucher called the game on-site from Amalie Arena along with Kathryn Tappen and Pierre McGuire providing reports and contributing to pre-game and intermission coverage.
Liam McHugh, Keith Jones, Anson Carter and Patrick Sharp provided studio commentary during pre-game coverage and intermissions from NBC Sports’ headquarters in Stamford, Conn.
Pre-game coverage also featured Tappen’s interview with Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber, McGuire’s interview with Lightning forward Ross Colton, and a feature on Lightning forward Brayden Point.
NBC Sports will host a media conference call with Albert, Boucher, Jones and coordinating producer John McGuinness tomorrow, June 29, at 3 p.m. ET to look back at Game 1 and discuss the remainder of the series. Click here for full details to join.
Following are notes and quotes from Game 1:
Sharp: “It was a lot more physical than I thought it was going to be for a Game 1. Pretty dominant performance from where I was watching (for the Lightning).”
Jones: “The penalty kill streak is over for the Montreal Canadiens. If you’re Tampa Bay, you want to erase that as quickly as you can…they score on the power play and now they can move onto Game 2 feeling confident in their power play…and it takes some of the confidence away from Montreal’s penalty kill.”
Olczyk on Lightning forward Steven Stamkos’ goal, 5-1 Tampa Bay: “Jon Cooper started that 5-on-3 with five forwards on the ice, with a 4-1 lead – and they made Montreal pay.”
Boucher: “It seemed to me that Nikita Kucherov had one thing in mind on that power play – and that was to get Steven Stamkos a goal.”
Olczyk on the Lightning: “In Game 7 against the Islanders, there was a stretch where the Islanders only had two shots in a 26-minute span. When Tampa wants to shut it down, I don’t think they get enough credit for how good they are defensively. You talk about a complete team – there’s not a lot of room when they don’t have the puck.”
Boucher on Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov’s second goal, 4-1 Tampa Bay: “If there were any concerns about Nikita Kucherov’s health…I don’t think there’s anything wrong there.”
Olczyk on Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov’s first goal, 3-1 Tampa Bay: “You just never know what will happen when you direct a puck at the net. Ben Chiarot swats it up in the air…harmless play, right? Not so fast.”
Boucher: “The idea was to bat that well out of harm’s way. He didn’t get enough on it. Even though he got the goal in the second period, he’s going to wish he had that one back.”
Carter on the Lightning’s neutral zone play: “The Montreal Canadiens are going to have an easier time getting back across the Canadian border – Tampa Bay has been that solid at both blue lines in the first two periods.”
Jones on the Canadiens: “Brendan Gallagher has been noticeable for Montreal, as well as Josh Anderson – the speed game is starting to get going…when Anderson gets it going, he can be a real dangerous player.”
Olczyk on Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot’s goal, 2-1 Tampa Bay: “It’s like a pinball machine out in front of the net. Maybe off of Ryan McDonagh – bank, bank, and into the back of the net.”
Boucher on Lightning forward Yanni Gourde’s goal, 2-0 Tampa Bay: “This starts with a turnover by Brendan Gallagher at the offensive blue line, and he knows it. He tries to make a play and turns it over…and because of it, Tampa goes the other way…Gallagher knows that puck has to go deep and you can’t put it in the Tampa forwards’ hands.”
Jones on Cernak goal: “Brayden Point is such a responsible player in all facets of the game…he heads right where he should to the middle of the ice, disrupts the play and sends it to Cernak, who puts on another display of straight line hockey. You go forward, you drive the middle lane and when you do that, you get some goals along the way.”
Olczyk on Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot’s penalty: “This is a bad penalty. Ben Chiarot had one thing in mind. He takes his stick and just cross-checks Kucherov.”
Olczyk on the Lightning: “The Tampa forwards are getting to the front of the net. They’re paying the price, getting inside position on the Montreal defense. That’s something that Vegas wasn’t able to do or wasn’t willing to do in the prior round.”
Boucher on Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak’s goal, 1-0 Tampa Bay: “We saw it in Game 7 against the New York Islanders – the Tampa Bay defense was much more active in the end of that series. Cernak joins the rush and gets his first of the Playoffs.”
Jones on the Canadiens: “Montreal caught a break in Round One without John Tavares, Mark Scheifele in Round Two – so some of the top offensive players on the teams they have played against have been absent. No one is absent on this Tampa Bay Lightning team.”