Marc-Andre Fleury made 28 saves and Shea Theodore had a goal and an assist to lead the Vegas Golden Knights to a 4-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 1 of their NHL semifinal playoff series on Monday in Las Vegas.
Alec Martinez, Mattias Janmark and Nick Holden also scored goals and Reilly Smith added two assists for Vegas, which won its fifth consecutive playoff game.
It was the 90th career playoff victory for Fleury moving him within two of Grant Fuhr for third place on the all-time playoff wins list. Patrick Roy is No. 1 with 151 wins, and Martin Brodeur is second with 113.
Cole Caufield scored for Montreal, which saw its seven-game playoff winning streak end. Carey Price finished with 26 saves.
Golden Knights take Game 1
Vegas took a 1-0 lead at the 9:15 mark of the first period on Theodore’s first playoff goal of the season. Theodore one-timed a pass from Brayden McNabb from the top of the left circle past a screen by Mark Stone and into the top corner past Price’s stick side.
“We talked in our prescout meetings that they would be uncomfortable in their structure playing from behind,” Vegas coach Peter DeBoer said. “No one made them play from behind for a while. The goal was huge and at the right time with how we were playing.”NHL.com
Theodore’s goal marked the first time that Montreal trailed in the playoffs since Game 4 of its first-round series with Toronto, a streak of 447:08. That was the second-longest such postseason stretch in NHL history, trailing only a run of 488:38 by the 1960 Canadiens.
Martinez made it 2-0 early in the second period with his third playoff goal, one-timing Theodore’s pass from the right faceoff dot.
Canadiens put up little resistance
Montreal cut the deficit to 2-1 at 12:05 of the middle period. With the Canadiens on a power play, Caufield netted his first career playoff goal, sweeping in a rebound of a Tyler Toffoli shot from the left circle into a wide-open net.
“I think we had our chances to get back in the game,” Caufield said. “It was tight there for a while. We got it back to 2-1 and just some bad bounces. There are things we can get better at and work on. We’ll be ready for Wednesday.”NHL.com
Vegas answered just 53 seconds later when Janmark redirected Alex Tuch’s shot into the net off the left post for his fourth goal of the playoffs.
Holden made it 4-1 midway through the third period with his second goal of the playoffs. He took a crossing pass from Smith in the left circle and fired a wrist shot past Price’s stick side.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Wednesday night in Las Vegas.
–Field Level Media