Josh Anderson’s OT Winner Lifts Canadiens to 2-1 Series Lead over Golden Knights
AP Photo/Peter Power
The Montreal Canadiens went up 2-1 in the Stanley Cup semifinals following a 3-2 overtime victory over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 3 on Friday at Bell Centre in Montreal.
Josh Anderson hammered home the winner with a little more than seven minutes remaining in overtime.
Only hours before the game was scheduled to start, the Canadiens learned they’d be without head coach Dominique Ducharme. The NHL announced he was isolating from the team after testing positive for COVID-19.
Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin confirmed Ducharme would be out of contact with his staff as Game 3 unfolded. The impact of Ducharme’s absence seemed to be minimal based on how his team played.
Nicolas Roy gave Vegas a 1-0 lead with 3:16 off the clock in the second period. Fewer than 40 seconds later, Cole Caufield leveled the score for the Canadiens.
After Alex Pietrangelo’s goal at the 2:22 mark of the third period, the Golden Knights were within two minutes of victory at the end of regulation before Marc-Andre Fleury gifted a goal to Anderson.
Josh Anderson, RW, Canadiens: two goals, four shots, five hits
Carey Price, G, Canadiens: 43 saves, .956 save percentage
Alex Pietrangelo, D, Golden Knights: one goal, two shots, four blocked shots, one takeaway
Fleury Offers Canadiens Late Lifeline
Empty-netters aside, Anderson may never score an easier goal across his NHL career. Fleury went to collect the puck along the boards and hit it off his own skate. The Golden Knights goaltender lost track of the play until he saw Anderson move into frame and pounce on the mistake.
The Canadiens were out-shot 40-21 in regulation, so they struggled to break Vegas down for much of the game.
It looked like Caufield’s goal was going to be Montreal’s only highlight. And it was quite the highlight.
The 20-year-old has now gone five straight games with a point. No matter the outcome of these playoffs for the Habs, the franchise has discovered just how bright a talent it has with the young American.
In general, the Canadiens were a bit fortunate Friday night, but every single Stanley Cup champion caught some good luck on the way to a title. Perhaps that moment helped turn the series for Montreal.
Pietrangelo’s Hot Streak Continues
Riding the hot hand is always smart in the playoffs, and no Golden Knights player is hotter than Pietrangelo. He scored both of Vegas’ goals in the team’s Game 2 defeat and got one in a 6-3 victory to clinch its series against the Colorado Avalanche.
The net must’ve looked five times bigger when he lined up this wrist shot on Carey Price.
There’s no question the Golden Knights will need some more production from their forward lines at some point.
But this is why Pietrangelo is one of the highest-paid defensemen in the league. Although his goal haul is a little higher than expected, this is when he’s supposed to deliver.
Putting the @GoldenKnights up 2-1 early in the 3rd tonight, Alex Pietrangelo joins Earl Seibert (1938 QF with CHI), Doug Jarrett (1968 QF with CHI) and Paul Coffey (1981 PRE with EDM) as the only defencemen to get 3+ goals in the first 3 games of a playoff series vs the Canadiens pic.twitter.com/PS6NZaeHBf
As much as Fleury’s mistake hurts in the short term, it will be quickly forgotten if the Golden Knights respond strongly in their next game.
And that gaffe shouldn’t overshadow much much trouble Vegas had getting past Price. Two goals on 45 shots is far more of a concern, especially given where those goals came from. The stars on the top lines need to start producing.
The series will stay in Montreal for Game 4 on Sunday. The puck is scheduled to drop at 8 p.m. ET.
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