Montreal Wins, Lead Knights, Lead Series 2-1
Josh Anderson scored his second goal of the night at 12:53 of overtime, Carey Price made 43 saves and the Montreal Canadiens beat the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2 on Friday night to a take a 2-1 lead in the Stanley Cup semifinal series.
But the story of the game was what happened prior to the overtime goal. With Vegas leading 2-1 with 1:55 remaining, Marc-Andre Fleury botched a play with the puck trying to gather it behind his own goal. Mishandling it proved costly for the Golden Knights as the veteran goal tender flubbed the puck and it got loose in front of the net and was quickly slapped in by Anderson to tie the game 2-2.
The momentum changed dramatically after Anderson’s first goal as Montreal had life and that set the stage for Anderson to get his 2nd goal in the overtime. He scored after he knocked down an aerial pass at the offensive blue line. The puck fell to Paul Byron, who passed back to Anderson for his third goal of the playoffs, sending the Bell Centre into a chaotic celebration.
The Golden Knights have no one to blame but themselves as they outshot and outplayed the Canadians for a majority of the game. Vegas had 45 shots on goal compared to Montreal’s 27. This included the Canadians dominating the first period in outshooting the Knights 17-3.
Vegas had numerous opportunities to put this game away but failed by going 0-4 on the Power Play and Fleury’s blunder seemed to be the difference.
Montreal won without interim head coach Dominique Ducharme. He tested positive for COVID-19 before the game. Luke Richardson took over behind and directed the Canadiens to their fourth overtime victory in these playoffs.
Nicolas Roy and Alex Pietrangelo scored for Vegas but got very little production from the top line. The offense is going to have to get better after two lackluster games offensively. The Knights find themselves in must win game on Sunday to try to even the series. Game 4 is Sunday at 5:00pm in Montreal.