TAMPA — Nikita Kucherov had two goals and an assist in the third period, and the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Montreal Canadiens 5-1 in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena on Monday.
Brayden Point had three assists, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 18 saves for the Lightning, the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Ben Chiarot scored, and Carey Price made 21 saves for the Canadiens.
Since the Cup Final went to a best-of-7 format in 1939, teams that win Game 1 are 61-20 winning the series (.753). Each of the past three champions lost Game 1 (Washington Capitals, 2018; St. Louis Blues, 2019).
Game 2 is at Tampa on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS)
Erik Cernak gave Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead at 6:19 of the first period with his first NHL playoff goal, a redirection of a pass from Ondrej Palat.
Yanni Gourde made it 2-0 at 5:47 of the second period when he redirected a shot from Blake Coleman.
Chiarot cut it to 2-1 at 17:40 with a shot from the right point that deflected off two Lightning players.
Kucherov made it 3-1 at 2:00 of the third after Chiarot swatted his shot with his hand.
Kucherov made it 4-1 at 11:25 from the top of the slot off a face-off win by Point.
Steven Stamkos extended the lead to 5-1 with a power-play goal at 18:50.