Welcome to Game 4 of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final between the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Stanley Cup will be in the house on Monday, with the Lightning trying to become the first back-to-back champion since the Pittsburgh Penguins did so in 2016 and 2017.
If Montreal can find a way to win, Game 5 will be Wednesday in Tampa Bay. There has not been a Stanley Cup Final sweep since 1998 when the Detroit Red Wings defeated the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Canadiens will have a new look in Game 4, with forward Jake Evans replacing Jesperi Kotkaniemi, and defensemen Brett Kulak and Alexander Romanov as the new third pair, replacing Erik Gustafsson and Jon Merrill.
For the Lightning, there is a possibility forward Alex Killorn could rejoin the lineup. He has missed each of the past two games after sustaining an unspecified injury in Game 1. He took part in the morning skate.
In Game 3 on Friday in Montreal, the 3,500 spectators made enough noise for 20,000 and will be in full fervor. It should once again be a wild scene inside and outside Bell Centre, and NHL.com Senior Director of Editorial Shawn P. Roarke is there to provide all the sights, sounds and action from Game 4.
There is no escaping the enormity of what lies ahead for the Canadiens. Four teams in the history of the NHL have won a best-of-7 series after losing the first three games. The Toronto Maple Leafs are the only team to do it in a Final, winning against the Detroit Red Wings in 1942.
But the Canadiens are not thinking big picture. Instead, they are trying to take the first step, winning Game 4. History is on their side as there has not been a sweep since 1998 and the previous team to lose the first three games of a Final, the New York Rangers, won Game 4 against the Los Angeles Kings in 2014. Two seasons earlier, the New Jersey Devils lost the first three games against the Kings and won Games 4 and 5.
Here are some stories from the NHL.com staff to get you ready for Game 4:
— A resurgent Carey Price and immediate chemistry from reorganized lines for Montreal are among the 3 Keys for Game 4, according to senior writer Dan Rosen.
— Here is a deeper look at the changes to the Canadiens lineup, designed to inject a bit of speed to counter the Lightning, according to staff writer Mike Zeisberger.
— Lightning forward Alex Killorn has missed each of the past two games with an unspecified injury sustained in Game 1, but he could be back for Game 3. Here’s Rosen on the lineup situation for Tampa Bay.
— The Calgary Flames won the Stanley Cup in Montreal and are the only team in modern NHL history to achieve that feat. Zeisberger caught up with Lanny MacDonald and other members of the 1989 Flames to discuss the enormity of the opportunity the Lightning have in Game 4.
— Coach John Cooper has been a driving force for the Lightning, his calming influence is a big reason the Lightning are on the cusp of back-to-back championships, writes Tom Gulitti.
— On the verge of sweeping the Final, Tampa Bay has every reason to look ahead to what could come with victory tonight, but it won’t. The Lightning are too mature of a team now to fall into such a trap, writes columnist Nicholas J. Cotsonika.