The heavily favored Lightning are just two more wins away from winning back-to-back Cups.
Blake Coleman’s diving goal that just beat the second-period buzzer proved to be the game-winner, and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy sparkled in net as the host Tampa Bay Lightning claimed a 3-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday to take a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Final.
Anthony Cirelli and Ondrej Palat also scored in the win, and Vasilevskiy turned in a 42-save performance, but Coleman’s play was the highlight.
With the score tied 1-1, Tampa Bay’s Barclay Goodrow rushed up ice after a neutral-zone turnover and sent a cross-ice pass. Coleman dove to chip the puck into the net with 1.1 seconds remaining in the middle frame for his second goal of the playoffs.
“I knew the clock was winding down, but I saw ‘Goody’ make that heads-up play in the neutral zone, the little poke past their D,” Coleman said. “I just tried to do everything I could to give him an option. Incredible aerial pass from him, and fortunately we beat the clock.”NHL.com
Palat’s insurance goal with 4:18 remaining in regulation rounded out the scoring. Palat intercepted Joel Edmundson’s blind pass attempt deep in the zone and found the twine with a sharp-angled shot.
Nick Suzuki scored the lone goal for the Canadiens, who were the better team from start to finish but weren’t rewarded. Goaltender Carey Price stopped 20 shots.
The best-of-seven series shifts to Montreal for Game 3 on Friday.
Lightning take 2-0 series lead over Canadiens
After a scoreless first period in which the Canadiens earned a 13-6 edge in shots and were holding their own, Cirelli opened the scoring 6:40 into the second period. Cirelli, who took the point position amid the rotation on the forecheck, sent a wrist shot through traffic that found the mark for his fifth goal of the playoffs.
The Lightning are now 14-2 in the postseason when they score first and the Canadiens are 1-5 when they surrender the first goal.
Suzuki’s power-play goal just past the midway point of the second period evened the count. His long shot bounced on the way and deflected off a defender’s stick en route to slipping through Vasilevskiy’s legs for his team-leading sixth goal of the playoffs.
“I thought we had a good bounce-back game, had a lot of chances,” Suzuki said. “But we’ve just got to find ways to put the puck in the net, myself included. So we’ve just got to stick with that.”NHL.com
With five minutes remaining in the second period, Suzuki had as many shots on goal — eight — as the Lightning. Shots on goal after two periods were 29-13 for Montreal.
Both clubs made notable roster changes. With Lightning winger Alex Killorn sidelined after blocking a shot in Game 1, forward Mathieu Joseph played for the first time since May 20. Canadiens winger Joel Armia returned after missing the previous game, taking a spot from Jake Evans.
–Field Level Media