Montreal Canadiens Win Game 5, Lead 3-2 Over Vegas Golden Knights
It has been 28 years since the Montreal Canadiens made the Stanley Cup Finals. Now, they are just one win away from facing the winner of the Lightning-Islanders series. The Canadiens have a long and successful history. Montreal has 34 Stanley Cup Finals appearances and is on the verge of their 35th appearance.
On Tuesday night, the Habs stunned the Vegas Golden Knights on the road with a 4-1 win to take a commanding 3-2 series lead. Goaltender Carey Price made 26 saves to prevent the Knights’ offense from gaining momentum.
“You know, it’s the oldest cliché in hockey, but the fourth one’s going to be the hardest, and we’re fortunate to have the opportunity at home, and we’ll be ready to go in Game 6,” said Eric Staal, whose second-period goal held up as the game-winner.
The Canadiens rallied from a 3-1 series deficit in the first round against the Toronto Maple Leafs and swept the Winnipeg Jets in the second round. Montreal has an opportunity to close the series out at home on Thursday night.
“I think that’s what our mindset has been this whole playoff, is getting to do what we do, regardless of what happens,” Staal said. “I don’t think we change much. We do what we do every single shift, every moment we have, every opportunity we have to try and be difference makers for our team.”
The theme remained the same for Vegas, as they continued to struggle to get past Montreal’s suffocating defense. Max Pacioretty was the lone scorer for the Golden Knights in Tuesday’s loss. Vegas can’t seem to find the offense that got them this far. Montreal has done a tremendous job limiting space and controlling the neutral zone. The Golden Knights did have 56 shot attempts, though 12 missed the target and 17 were blocked.
Marc-Andre Fleury, the league’s active leader in playoff wins (90) and games played (162), only made 22 stops in front of the Vegas home crowd of 17,969. The loss was a shock because the Golden Knights had a regular-season home record of 21-5-2.
“You can point to a lot of things, we just weren’t sharp in our execution, in our decisions and it cost us,” Golden Knights coach Peter DeBoer said. “We’ve got to find a way. You’ve got to find a way this time of year against the good teams, and pressure, and tension, against a good goalie. Those are the teams that end up standing at the end of the day.”
Game 6 will take place in Montreal on Thursday night.