Welcome to Game 1 of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final between the Tampa Bay Lighting and Montreal Canadiens.
The first game of this best-of-7 series has the Lightning, the defending Stanley Cup champion, hosting the Canadiens, who are playing in their first Final since 1993.
NHL.com Senior Director of Editorial Shawn P. Roarke is in Amalie Arena to provide all the sights, sounds, insight and action for Game 1.
6:30 p.m. ET
What a perfect night for hockey here in Tampa.
The party in and around Amalie Arena has been in full swing for several hours now and we are 90 minutes or so from the start of what should be an intriguing series.
The biggest question as we await puck drop is the status of Montreal forward Joel Armia, who is a game-time decision. He was cleared from COVID-19 protocol earlier Monday and flew to Tampa in a private jet. Montreal assistant coach Luke Richardson said Armia would be available if he arrived in time and was ready to play. If not, forward Jake Evans would take his place.
While you get ready for the start of Game 1 (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, CBC, TVAS), here is a collection of content from NHL.com to set the stage:
The play of Montreal center Philip Danault is among the 3 Keys of Game 1, according to senior writer Dan Rosen.
The Canadiens don’t believe they are underdogs, despite finishing with 16 less points than the Lightning, but the numbers and history suggest otherwise, according to columnist Nicholas J. Cotsonika.
The goalie battle between Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Lightning and Carey Price of the Canadiens could well be the marquee storyline of the Final and the goalies involved are embracing the challenge, says Rosen.
Special teams will be a huge part of this series, writer Tom Gulitti says in his comprehensive breakdown of the series.
Who is going to win the Stanley Cup? We asked a panel of our staff writers for their predictions.
Who is the MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs heading into the Final? Well, not surprisingly, it is a goalie, according to our panel of experts.
Lightning forward Steven Stamkos is healthy and involved in these playoffs, which was not the case last season. He and his teammates are reveling in that turn of fortune, says Gulitti.
Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber is playing in the Final for the first time, inspiring his teammates with his dedication along the way, according to writer Mike Zeisberger.