First-period goals by Joel Armia and Tyler Toffoli sparked the Montreal Canadiens to a three-goal lead, and they held on for a 3-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday in Game 2 of their Stanley Cup playoff semifinal series at Las Vegas.
Paul Byron netted the eventual game-winning goal while Carey Price made 29 saves — 16 in the third period — as the Canadiens evened the series 1-1.
Alex Pietrangelo scored both goals for Vegas, and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 20 shots.
The best-of-seven series moves to Montreal for the next two games, starting Friday.
Canadiens even series against Golden Knights
The Canadiens opened the scoring for the 10th time in the playoffs when Armia lit the lamp at the 6:12 mark. After he created a turnover while on the forecheck, Armia was on the spot for a loose puck when Joel Edmundson’s point shot was blocked. He buried the chance for his fifth goal of the playoffs.
Toffoli’s fifth goal of the postseason doubled the lead 10 minutes later. He set up shop in the slot and fanned on a one-timer attempt. The changeup eluded Fleury and extended Toffoli’s points streak to eight games, in which he has collected five goals and 10 points.
“We’ve been burnt before. We got burnt again tonight,” Vegas captain Mark Stone said. “You can’t go down 2-0 and expect to win the game. The last two periods I thought we played pretty well, but chasing the game is not an easy task against anybody, but these guys play a good team game when they get the lead.”NHL.com
Byron’s breakaway tally with 2:15 remaining in the second period extended the lead to 3-0. A misplay at Vegas’ blue line allowed the speedy Byron to gain the puck, and he converted a backhand.
Series heads to Montreal
In dire need of a boost, the Golden Knights received one 61 seconds later with Pietrangelo’s first tally. After a faceoff win in the Montreal zone, Pietrangelo gained the puck at the point, and his long wrister eluded the screened Price.
Pietrangelo made it a one-goal game with 5:14 remaining in regulation with another goal coming off a won faceoff in Montreal territory. After William Karlsson won the draw, Pietrangelo ended up with the puck in the right circle and found the mark for his third goal of the playoffs. Despite a frantic push, the hosts couldn’t find the equalizer.
Both teams made notable roster moves. The Golden Knights were without top-line center Chandler Stephenson, replaced in the lineup by Patrick Brown. Montreal had a pair of defensemen, Jeff Petry and Jon Merrill, return from injury, which took Alexander Romanov and Brett Kulak out.
“We showed some good composure, but I think we can still do a better job,” Habs coach, Dominque Ducharme said. “We wanted to support the puck better. I think we did that, and it paid off.”NHL.com
–Field Level Media