Game 3 of the series brought Tomas Nosek back to the Vegas lineup after being out since Game 2 against the Minnesota Wild. This was also the first time an American team played in Canada since the 2019-20 playoffs. However, Dominique Ducharme, the Montreal head coach, was not behind their bench after testing positive for COVID.
Montreal Canadiens Win, Pull Off Game 3 Against Vegas
The third game of the semifinals started a lot hotter for the Golden Knights and they managed to shut Montreal down completely. Vegas outshot the home team 17-3 and Montreal’s first shot on goal came halfway through the period in the power play.
A pleasant highlight for Montreal in the first was Josh Anderson. The 27-year-old had what can arguably be his second-best period of the playoffs, being a big presence for the Canadiens. He was able to use his strength and speed to generate a few chances for Montreal.
Carey Price continued to be spectacular, stopping all 17 shots he faced to keep the game tied at zero. With 5:40 left in the first, Price comes up with a big save on a breakaway by Nicolas Roy. However, he got from his teammates a few (rare) times. Phillip Danault came up big with a defensive play that stopped a pass from Pacioretty to Mark Stone, parked right in front of Price.
Fortunately for the home team, the continued success of their penalty killers carries to Game 3. Entering Friday’s game, the Canadiens had killed 34 out of 37 penalties and had four shorthanded goals in the playoffs. Throughout the first period, they managed to kill both penalties that were called.
If Montreal was planning to start the second with the right foot, their captain surely didn’t help. They had to activate the “power kill” once again after Shea Webber took a penalty 24 seconds into the period. Lucky for him, the penalty kill was still perfect. Marc-Andre Fleury had to make his first big save of the night after Armia got a shorthanded chance.
Right after the home team had killed the penalty, Nicolas Roy broke the ice at the 3:16 mark of the second. The goal came from a terrible turnover by Eric Staal that ended up in Roy’s stick right in front of Price.
Even though Vegas managed to keep Montreal’s top line away from the goal, a blocked shot by Nick Suzuki generated the perfect chance. The rookie Cole Caufield was able to score on a breakaway only 38 seconds after the Roy goal. After that, the Vegas goalie had to make a couple of big saves, including one on Caufield.
Price came up big on a breakaway by Alex Tuch with 6:14 left in the second to keep the game tied. The Canadiens got a power play with 17 seconds left but were unable to generate much until the horn sounded. Once again, the home team was outshot 13 to 5.
Entering the third with a power-play, Montreal had a big chance to take the lead for the first time in the game. However, while their penalty kill is perfect, the Canadiens’ power play continues to be sufferable. Vegas makes it killing penalties look easy and at 2:22 of the third, Alex Pietrangelo scores to take the lead. After surrendering a goal, the Canadian team started to get desperate, shooting at every chance they get.
The Pietrangelo goal made the game get a lot better and more balanced. For the first time in the game, Montreal outshot Vegas 13-10. Even with the pressure, the visitors are able to hold on to their lead. However, with 1:55 left in the third, Fleury mishandles the puck and Anderson is there to tie the game. This was his best game in a long time and got a much-deserved goal after a 13 game goalless streak. Compensating his mistake, Fleury made a big save on Joel Edmundson right at the buzzer to take the game to overtime.
After a better performance by the Canadiens in the third period, overtime started on fire. However, after a missed call that left Corey Perry bleeding and a few big saves from both goalies, Josh Anderson wins the game with 7 minutes left in the overtime. A 2-on-0, the most severe odd-man break Vegas has given up in the series, decided this game. It’s a tough loss, especially for Marc-Andre Fleury, and Vegas now enters a virtually must-win Game 4. Regardless, the Montreal Canadiens win Game 3 and take a 2-1 series lead.
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