Josh Anderson tied the game for the Montreal Canadiens late on a Marc-Andre Fleury puckhandling gaffe and then netted the overtime game-winning goal as the Montreal Canadiens completed the comeback with a 3-2 win on Friday night. The Canadiens now lead the Vegas Golden Knights 2-1 in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Semifinal series.
After a scoreless first period in which Vegas out-shot Montreal 17-3, the game evened out with Nicolas Roy and Cole Caufield exchanging second-period goals to tie the game at one. In the third, Alex Pietrangelo scored his third goal of the series to put the VGK ahead 2:22 into the final frame, but then disaster struck. Fleury, who has had some puckhandling adventures this year, ended up deflecting the puck in front of his own unguarded net for a tap-in goal by Anderson with 1:55 remaining.
In overtime, Anderson struck once again at 12:53, putting a puck past a sprawling Marc-Andre Fleury for the win.
- That Marc-Andre Fleury giveaway is a killer. I know he played well for most of the game and has for most of the season been the best player on the team, but that can’t happen. As much as everyone says they know they have to pick him up, it’s not that simple. The momentum goes right to the Canadiens and in the OT when they buried the winner you could sense the emotion going in their direction.
- Speaking of Montreal, I talked about it before the game but now that the Habs have won Game Three, the pressure goes from the Canadiens right onto the Golden Knights. Trailing 2-1 in the series and another difficult road game ahead, they’ve really done nothing to show that they can score on a consistent basis against the Canadiens. A lot needs to change before Game Four, starting with the top line.
- After the game, Mark Stone talked about how his line not scoring in the first three games of the series was unacceptable, and took the blame on his unit for not only five-on-five scoring but also weighing down the power play as well. He knows it. I know it. You know it. That line has to put pucks in the net for this team to advance.
“The last few games our power play has had to step up, (but) they haven’t even gotten us any momentum. We had only two shots on net in the three or four plays that we had,” Stone said. “As a group we need a little more pride in playing on the power play…”
- I’ve harped on the power play before, about how a lack of movement off the puck and terrible zone entries have kept the Vegas Golden Knights from doing anything. Tonight it was more of the same. Even the national TV crew picked up on it and made the same comment. My question is, why hasn’t Pete DeBoer tried to change something? It’s not like there’s a glimmer of hope with a PP goal here and there. It’s been a barren wasteland when it comes to the man advantage.
“It’s costing us the series,” Reilly Smith said.
- Credit Carey Price for stopping everything he saw in the first period. It allowed a sluggish Montreal team figuring out how to operate without its head coach behind the bench to find a flow. In the second and third periods, the Canadiens got it back in gear and ended up with the win. Price bought them critical time to get the ducks in a row, and once they did confidence was restored across the board.