Canadiens 3, Golden Knights 2: Vegas blows late lead before falling in OT, trails series 2-1
An unfortunate bounce ruined a well-played game for the Golden Knights.
The series between the Vegas Golden Knights and Montreal Canadiens shifted north of the border for Game 3, making the Golden Knights the first American team to play in Canada in the 2021 season.
A late gaffe by Marc-Andre Fleury in the final two minutes of regulation helped Montreal get back in the game, and the Canadiens completed the comeback with a goal 12:53 into overtime to take a 2-1 series lead.
With Chandler Stephenson out of the lineup once again, Alex Tuch was moved up to the first line. Tomas Nosek made his return and series debut in place of Patrick Brown, though he eventually moved up to the first line in Tuch’s stead.
The Knights played a great game but were unable to close it out. They held a significant margin in shots (40-21 in regulation) throughout the game and also completely controlled possession at 5-on-5 in regulation, but they shot themselves in the foot late in the game.
The Golden Knights got out to a significantly better start than the first two games of the series, as they were dominant in all three zones in the early stages.
That great start led to a power play for Vegas, as Jesperi Kotkaniemi was whistled for hooking Alec Martinez. The Golden Knights provided an enthusiastic effort, but Carey Price was excellent while his team was shorthanded.
Soon after the penalty expired, Keegan Kolesar was whistled for interference, which sent the Habs to a power play. The penalty was the first for the Golden Knights since the second period of Game 1. The Golden Knights got the kill, only allowing one shot.
Down the stretch in the first, Shea Theodore forced Artturi Lehkonen’s ankles to buckle with a great bit of footwork, but the follow-up shot was gobbled up by Price.
https://t.co/yMC4ck0wpg pic.twitter.com/6oOGazTiDs— Danny Webster (@DannyWebster21) June 19, 2021
Later in the period, Joel Armia was whistled for boarding Brayden McNabb, which sent the Golden Knights to another power play. Despite their best efforts, Vegas was once again unable to score, so the teams went to the locker rooms still scoreless.
As the second period started, Shea Weber was whistled for interference. It was a retaliation to a massive hit on Nick Suzuki by McNabb. The Golden Knights’ power play struggles continued as they were unable to score once again.
Soon after the penalty expired, the Golden Knights capitalized on an awful defensive-zone play by Eric Staal. He threw it softly to the front of the net from the trapezoid, and the puck found Nic Roy’s stick. Roy fired it quickly over Price’s glove to break the ice.
Staal with the turnover behind the net, Roy all alone in front of Price.#VegasBorn pic.twitter.com/dfD8vf5gvP— Danny Webster (@DannyWebster21) June 19, 2021
The lead did not last very long, however.
Suzuki blocked a shot and fed Cole Caufield with a beautiful saucer pass. Caufield walked in alone and beat Fleury glove-side just 38 seconds later.
Suzuki with the block on Holden's shot, Caufield sneaks through the defense and beats Fleury top shelf. 38 seconds later. pic.twitter.com/9gOlSwvmSY— Danny Webster (@DannyWebster21) June 19, 2021
The Golden Knights maintained control of the game, and it led to another power play as Kotkaniemi was whistled for hooking Max Pacioretty. The Golden Knights could not get set up and yet another opportunity went by the wayside.
Nosek was whistled for tripping near the end of what had been a positive period for the Golden Knights.
The Golden Knights were able to kill off the carry-over time as the third period began and get, and momentum began to build.
The momentum was finally enough to get another one past Price.
Nosek made an excellent play in the defensive zone and fed Alex Pietrangelo with a breakout pass. Pietrangelo and Pacioretty played catch with each other before Pietrangelo floated the puck from the slot past Price to re-gain the lead.
LASER BEAMS pic.twitter.com/BkRMRAeyEj— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) June 19, 2021
The Golden Knights continued to buzz, but Price continued to be remarkable, stoning Tuch on a backdoor one-timer for his biggest save of the game.
Braden Holtby is playing for Montreal, apparently. pic.twitter.com/W5Z8FK8nJN— Danny Webster (@DannyWebster21) June 19, 2021
The Canadiens began to push and were rewarded with a gift late in the period.
Fleury made a brutal mistake while playing the puck behind the net. The puck went straight to Josh Anderson in front of a wide-open net with no Knights in the vicinity. He capitalized to tie the game at 18:05, sending Game 3 to overtime.
I'm just ... wow. pic.twitter.com/iIKIHYL4mP— Danny Webster (@DannyWebster21) June 19, 2021
The Canadiens were in control in overtime and eventually broke through.
It was Anderson again after a lead pass from the neutral zone. He knocked it down and played catch with Paul Bryon on a 2-on-0 opportunity, and they gave Fleury no chance.
OT WINNER.@CanadiensMTL complete the comeback! 🙌 #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/ZMASgld34m— NHL (@NHL) June 19, 2021
The Golden Knights played an excellent game but were unable to finish it off. Though the Fleury play was costly, the Knights had plenty of opportunities to score throughout the game. The power play went 0-for-4 on the night.
This was the first game in the series in which the team that scored first did not win, and it’s the Knights’ second consecutive loss.
This was a game that the Golden Knights should have won, but they will have a chance to regroup before Game 4 on Sunday.