Stanley Cup Final Game 3 takeaways: Tampa Bay Lightning one win away from the Cup

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After a nail-biter in Game 2, Tampa Bay roared back in Montreal, upending the hosts 6-3 and inching closer to a repeat championship.
Tampa Bay strikes early in the first Stanley Cup Finals game in Montreal since 1993, beating the Canadiens 6-3 to take a 3-0 series lead. (0:52)

The Tampa Bay Lightning moved within one victory of back-to-back Stanley Cup championships, with an emphatic 6-3 win at the Montreal Canadiens in Game 3 on Friday night.

Miss any of the game? We're here with the top takeaways.

More: Cup Final schedule | Playoff Central

Stanley Cup Final Game 3 in 10 words or fewer

Lightning strike first and then just keep striking.

What a performance for the gritty center. Johnson pulled double duty for the second straight game, skating with Steven Stamkos and Anthony Cirelli on the second line in place of the injured Alex Killorn, while moonlighting in his usual spot on the fourth line. He scored two critical goals in the game, including the knockout blow in the third period on a great individual effort.

It's amazing to think that he was placed on waivers twice by the Lightning this season, in the hopes that someone would claim his contract, because they were so capped-strapped. No one did. Bet they're pretty happy about that now.

What worked for Tampa Bay?

The Lightning are doing to the Canadiens what the Canadiens did to their previous three opponents: forcing them into mistakes, making them pay for them and then relying on an All-World goalie to clean up their own errors. It's just that when the Lightning execute this game plan, their unmatched depth of talent just makes it look so overwhelming. "We made too many mistakes. And they make you pay cash on those mistakes," said Montreal coach Dominique Ducharme.

What didn't work for Montreal?

Once again, scoring the first goal mattered most: Tampa Bay is now 15-2 in the playoffs when doing so, while Montreal dropped to 1-6 when they don't. But increasingly, the story of the series is Andrei Vasilevskiy bailing out the Lightning when they get in trouble, while Carey Price has not done so for the Canadiens. Price has an .835 save…
Greg Wyshynski
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