Despite being heavily outplayed during Game 3 of the Stanley Cup semifinals, the Montreal Canadiens managed to find a way to win defeating the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2 in overtime. Josh Anderson capitalized on a gaffe by goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and finished the job in overtime burying a beautiful pass from Paul Byron. Anderson knocked the puck out of mid-air which Byron picked up and fed back to Anderson who essentially had a tap in as Fleury was down and out. Despite Anderson’s two-goal game, the real star of the show was netminder Carey Price.
Carey Price Carrying the Canadiens to Victory Through Three Games
Vegas is known for its theatrics. Their pregame shows are nothing like we see from any other team in the NHL. They bring in A-list superstars like Usher to get the crowd fired up. However, when the game starts, another star begins to shine. His name is Carey Price. Despite losing the first game 4-1, Price still played magnificently. He made 26 saves, some of which were absolutely outstanding and had it not been for Price, the game could have been a lot worse. It was the first time the Canadiens netminder allowed more than three goals since Game 4 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
In Game 2 and 3 though, Price shut the door. Allowing just two goals in both games and stopping 72 of 76 shots. What makes it more impressive is the magnitude of the saves he is making. Even when the fans and commentary team believes Vegas has scored, Price proves them wrong.
It was just one of many remarkable saves in Game 2 to help the Canadiens hold off the Golden Knights. In Game 3, Price wanted to try to outdo himself.
It’s these types of saves that you begin to expect from the Canadiens star. People always tend to question Carey Price’s contract. Hearing many fans (mostly from opposing teams) saying he is overpaid and it’s the worst contract in hockey. However, when you sit back and watch Price play, especially on the biggest stage, you learn why Marc Bergevin decided to pay the goaltender who has carried the Canadiens essentially his entire career.
Canadiens Depth Getting it Done
Though Price is the biggest reason for the team’s success, it would be wrong to not credit the team as a whole. Five different players have scored for the Canadiens through three games. With 10 different players finding their way on the score sheet.
The only line that hasn’t scored for the Canadiens is the Phillip Danault line. This is fine considering they’re still creating chances as well as doing their job to shut down the Golden Knights offence. It’s what Danault is known for, and what he has done throughout the entire Stanley Cup Playoffs. He gets all the toughest matchups and is on the ice for the key faceoff opportunities. Danault is a player who the Canadiens have been relying so much on this offseason. He’s a player that is extremely underrated and although he may not have had the greatest regular season, he has really turned his game up a notch in the playoffs.
Rookie Cole Caufield leads the way for the Canadiens with two goals and three points in three games. Hard to imagine he was a healthy scratch to start the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Questionable Officiating Through Three Games
While the play of Price and the Canadiens has been the storyline, one storyline the NHL certainly won’t like is the poor officiating through the first three games. It’s one thing to let the two teams play. We all know the whistles get put away during the playoffs for the most part. However, when a call is so blatant that a player is cut and has to leave the game for repairs, especially when it was a play near the puck, it’s mindblowing how four referees could miss it. This was the case for Corey Perry in Game 3. Perry was hit with a high stick from Jonathan Marchessault, which left him dripping from his nose and had to leave the game. By the time he came back, the Canadiens had won. However, Perry was a mess.
After the game, TSN’s Craig Button called it the worst officiated game he has seen in the playoffs this year. That’s a pretty big statement, considering how poor the officiating has been in other series as well. It’s worth mentioning because it is certainly something the league will need to look at. Especially for the integrity of the game.
— John Lu (@JohnLuTSNMtl) June 19, 2021
Off to Game 4
The Canadiens will host the Golden Knights in what promises to be an exciting Game 4 at the Bell Centre. The extra 1000 fans seemed like an extra 10,000 as the Canadiens faithful were extremely loud in Game 3. Carey Price and the Canadiens will look to put a stranglehold on the Golden Knights before they head back to Vegas for Game 5.