Canadiens avoid sweep as Josh Anderson’s OT goal saves season; series moves back to Tampa

Jul 5, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens right wing Josh Anderson (17) celebrates after scoring against Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (not pictured) during the overtime period in game four of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Jubilation enveloped the streets of Montreal. While only a limited amount of fans inside the Bell Centre could cheer the team on, a sea of Habs faithful outside reveled with joy.

Thanks to Josh Anderson’s overtime game-winning goal the season continues. The Montreal Canadiens beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 on Monday, as they avoided a sweep in the Stanley Cup Final.

Shortly after the Canadiens killed a four-minute penalty handed to captain Shea Weber with 61 seconds remaining in regulation, Anderson created a rush up ice by stealing the puck in his own zone and then pounced on a loose puck for his second goal of the game at 3:57 of overtime.

Canadiens avoid sweep and stay alive

“We didn’t want to end it tonight in front of our fans,” Anderson said. “We expected to go to Tampa tomorrow, I think everybody in that locker room did and packed their bags this afternoon, you know, just had that feeling that we were going to win tonight and give ourselves a chance.”

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josh anderson saves season
Jul 5, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens right wing Josh Anderson (17) shoots and scores against Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) during the overtime period in game four of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Alexander Romanov also scored for the Canadiens, who still trail the best-of-seven series 3-1. Goaltender Carey Price made 32 saves for Montreal, which is 4-0 when facing elimination in the playoffs.

Barclay Goodrow and Pat Maroon scored for the Lightning, who will look to clinch their second consecutive Stanley Cup title on home ice on Wednesday. Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 18 shots.

Despite Tampa holding the momentum from the drop of the puck, Anderson opened the scoring with 4:21 remaining in the opening frame when he buried a chance from the slot for Montreal’s first lead of the series.

The Canadiens had the edge until Goodrow tied the game with 2:40 remaining in the second period. Taking advantage of a Montreal turnover, the Lightning worked the puck to Goodrow in the slot and he converted.

Habs lineup changes worked

Romanov, playing his first game of the series, restored the Montreal lead at 8:48 of the third period when his long wrist shot found the target for his first goal in 54 games. He’s the youngest defenseman in Canadiens history to score a goal in the Stanley Cup Final.

However, Maroon erased the deficit exactly five minutes later when he finished the cross-ice pass from Mathieu Joseph on a two-on-one rush with 6:12 remaining in regulation.

The Canadiens replaced forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi and defensemen Jon Merrill and Erik Gustafsson with forward Jake Evans and defensemen Brett Kulak and Romanov. Meanwhile, injured Tampa forward Alex Killorn — who was hurt in the series opener — took the pregame skate but didn’t play.

“It’s frustrating, but I don’t look at it as, ‘Oh well, we didn’t win the game in overtime,'” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “How did we get to overtime? We had ample chances to put this one away and we didn’t, and eventually if you let a team hang around long enough, they get you, and tonight they did. So I’m not worried about the overtime thing.”

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–Field Level Media