Josh Anderson scores OT winner as Canadiens take 2-1 series lead over Golden Knights

canadiens covid
Jun 18, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Josh Anderson (17) reacts with forward Paul Byron (41) and forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi (15) after scoring the winning goal during the overtime period in game three of the 2021 Stanley Cup Semifinals against the Vegas Golden Knights at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Anderson’s second goal of the game was the overtime winner, giving the host Montreal Canadiens a 3-2 comeback victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday and a 2-1 lead in their Stanley Cup playoffs semifinal series.

Taking advantage of a Vegas turnover at his own blue line, Jesperi Kotkaniemi fired a long pass that Anderson kicked out of the air to Paul Byron, who slipped a pass back to his teammate as he drove the net. Anderson buried the puck at 12:53 of the extra period.

“We had a press late in the third period there, and obviously we got a fortunate bounce on the tying goal,” Anderson said. “And then in OT it looked like we had a lot more energy than them. We came out hard and found a way …. in a huge game that we needed to win.”

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Josh Anderson scores in OT, Canadiens lead series

josh anderson scores in OT
Jun 18, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens right wing Josh Anderson (17) shots and scores a goal against Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (29) during an over time period in game three of the 2021 Stanley Cup Semifinals at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Cole Caufield also scored in the win, and Montreal goaltender Carey Price made 43 saves in yet another outstanding performance. The Canadiens were without head coach Dominique Ducharme behind the bench on Friday after he tested positive for COVID-19.

Nicolas Roy and Alex Pietrangelo scored for the Golden Knights. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 24 shots, but his gaffe late in regulation cost his team the game.

Anderson scored his first goal in 13 games to pull the Canadiens even with 1:55 remaining in regulation. Fleury mishandled the puck behind his net, and it bounded to the front of the net, where Anderson was on the spot for the gift that forced overtime.

After a scoreless first period in which the Golden Knights outshot the hosts by a 17-3 count, Roy opened the scoring 3:16 into the second period.

While pressured when he had the puck at the end boards, Montreal’s Eric Staal flubbed a clearing attempt and put the puck right on Roy’s stick at the doorstep. Roy lifted a shot into the top corner.

Golden Knights need to recover

Caufield’s breakaway goal 38 seconds later tied the game. After Nick Suzuki blocked a Vegas shot, he sprung Caufield, and the rookie lifted a glove-side shot into the net for the goal that extended his point streak to five games, in which he has netted two goals and five points.

Pietrangelo restored the Vegas lead 2:22 into the third period with his third goal of the series.

After starting a rush up the ice, Pietrangelo worked a give-and-go with Max Pacioretty that ended when he buried a long shot from the high slot. Of the eight goals scored by the Golden Knights in the series, six have been scored by defensemen.

“Those type of events are tough to recover from,” Golden Knights coach Peter DeBoer said. “We talked between the third and the overtime about trying to get our mojo back. I didn’t think we were poor in overtime, but there’s no doubt that carried into the overtime for us a little on the negative side and for sure gave them some pop going out to overtime.”

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Game 4 in the best-of-seven series will be played Sunday in Montreal.

–Field Level Media