“He’s the main story here tonight and this has not been a solid game here from Tampa whatsoever. They owe a lot to their goaltender.” – Brian Boucher on Andrei Vasilevskiy
“This is a difficult loss…This was Montreal putting out a supreme effort and losing.” – Keith Jones on Canadiens
“We’re still trying to make sense of what we just saw. Perhaps the best goal and the best setup of this postseason.” – Liam McHugh on Blake Coleman’s Diving Buzzer-Beating Goal in Second Period
STAMFORD, Conn. – June 30, 2021 – NBC Sports continued its exclusive presentation of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final tonight with Game 2 between the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning from Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla., on NBCSN and Peacock. The Lightning won the game, 3-1, and lead the series 2-0. Coverage for Game 3 from Montreal begins Friday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.
Kenny Albert, Brian Boucher and Pierre McGuire called the game on-site from Amalie Arena along with Kathryn Tappen 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 featured a Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick-narrated essay on the Stanley Cup engraver, Tappen’s interviews with Lightning captain Steven Stamkos and Canadiens forward Tyler Toffoli, as well as McGuire’s interview with Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh.
Following are notes and quotes from Game 2:
Carter on Lightning: “Tampa Bay can beat you physically, with skill hockey and they also win games they’re not supposed to win. I think (Andrei) Vasilevskiy got robbed — he should have gotten the first, second and third star tonight. There’s no way Tampa comes out of this game with a victory without Vasilevskiy.”
Jones on Canadiens: “This is a difficult loss. When you have your skating legs, when you have the jump and you are creating scoring chances, and you lose a game? This can be more difficult to come back from than a 5-1 loss. This was Montreal putting out a supreme effort and losing.”
Boucher on Canadiens: “The Canadiens can build off a game like this. Even though they didn’t get the win, they did a lot of good things in this game.”
Boucher on Lightning G Andrei Vasilevskiy: “There’s always a lot of talk about (Nikita) Kucherov, (Brayden) Point, (Victor) Hedman. The reality is that Andrei Vasilevskiy plays a huge role in the success of the Tampa Bay Lightning. It’s the timeliness of his saves. That’s what matters most. Sometimes he doesn’t get a lot of work, and sometimes he’s the main story. He’s the main story here tonight and this has not been a solid game here from Tampa whatsoever. They owe a lot to their goaltender.”
Boucher on Lightning forward Ondrej Palat’s goal, 3-1 Tampa Bay: “This is a backbreaker for the Canadiens. They had a lot of good going on and it was a harmless looking play…Communication is key. There is no reason why that play should happen with virtually no pressure. That was a gift.”
Jones on the Canadiens’ second period: “They had some great chances. Andrei Vasilevskiy was out of this world in the second period. He had one goal get by him, but then he closed the door. Montreal was all over him, quality opportunities, dangerous scoring chances coming at you and Vasilevskiy was there to make save after save.”
Sharp: “The first three periods of this series were ugly for Montreal. I liked the first period of Game 2, they looked much more comfortable. But this second period, Montreal woke up and said, ‘we’re going to dictate the terms of this game.’”
Sharp on Nick Suzuki’s improved play in Game 2: “It tells you a lot about the character of that player. He was invisible in Game 1. Well, I guess he was visible because he was a minus-3. He was on the ice for everything that was happening in the wrong direction. He listened to everyone tell him that for two days and he showed up tonight and has been the best player on the ice.”
McHugh on Lightning forward Blake Coleman’s goal, 2-1 Tampa Bay: “We’re still trying to make sense of what we just saw. Perhaps the best goal and the best setup of this postseason. It beats the buzzer and erases what was a great period of hockey for the Canadiens.”
Boucher on the Suzuki forward line: “The question was, were we going to see a response from the Suzuki line? We’ve seen it. It’s been a much better Game 2 for Suzuki, Toffoli and Caufield…a much more confident trio.”
Boucher on Lightning G Andrei Vasilevskiy: “The only reason the game is 1-1 is because of number 88 in blue.”
Boucher on Canadiens forward Nick Suzuki’s goal, tied 1-1: “Two goals in this hockey game that you just don’t typically expect to go in…instead of going down, assumes his defenseman would come up with it, he fans on it and so does Vasilevskiy. A gift of a goal.”
McGuire: “Look who was right in front of him. The evil menace, Corey Perry. You have to wonder if Vasilevskiy was wondering if Perry was going to do something with that puck.”
Boucher on Lightning forward Anthony Cirelli’s goal, 1-0 Tampa Bay: “It’s been a lot of Montreal in this game so far, but a harmless looking shot…eludes Carey Price…one of those shots that just seems to have eyes.”
Boucher on Montreal: “That’s the response you want to see from Montreal…They might be bent, but there’s no break in this Canadiens team so far here tonight.”
Jones on the Canadiens: “They are extremely comfortable. The (Alex) Killorn absence shouldn’t be that big of an issue, but it was an issue in the first period. The Lightning did not look comfortable out there.”
Jones on Tampa’s start to Game 2: “I think Tampa fed the Canadiens — a couple of turnovers they were able to capitalize on, get scoring chances, feel their way into the game. Careful start for Tampa and that’s not how they wanted to start against this Canadiens team.”
Boucher on Montreal’s 4-on-3 power play: “If Shea Weber and the one-timer is going to be taken away, at some point you’ve got to get the puck to the net…not enough movement for Montreal during the 4-on-3.”
McGuire: “And that’s why Cole Caufield should have been on the ice. You could have double-stacked the left side of the ice. They’re both right-handed shots. I don’t agree with the formula at all of having Erik Gustafsson out there instead of Caufield.”
Boucher on the Canadiens’ chances in Game 2: “Luke Richardson said the positive today was that his team knows they didn’t have their best in Game 1. They know they have a lot more to give. And when you have hope on your side, that can be fuel.”
Jones on Steven Stamkos: “He’s been the face of the franchise for a long time. He’s allowed other players to excel with him, he doesn’t try to steal the spotlight, he shares it. He really has led by terrific example of what it’s like to be the captain of a team in the NHL.”