Video Credit: NHL

FSM Essential Recap: Golden Knights vs Canadiens – 3rd Round – NHL Playoffs

Franchise Sports Media

Vegas Golden Knights (10-9) | Montreal Canadiens (12-5)


Game 6:


Vegas went into Montreal with their backs against the wall on Thursday night as they faced elimination in game 6.


Golden Knights vs Canadiens
Photo Credit: NHL

The Vegas Golden Knights had a rough first ten minutes of the game as they had multiple turnovers and a penalty called against them in the first two minutes. After killing off the first penalty, it was Montreal’s second chance on the powerplay that proved to be lethal. As Alec Martinez was trying to clear the puck out of the zone, his stick broke, and the puck went straight to Shea Weber, who waisted no time winding up a slap shot and firing it up and past Robin Lehner to give the Canadiens a 1-0 lead with

It could have been an especially costly goal because the Habs have been so good at winning when scoring first in this year’s playoffs, but VGK was not ready to go down that easy. Forty-eight seconds later, Vegas answered back with a goal from Reilly Smith, his first since Game 2 against Colorado. Shea Theodore received a pass from William Karlsson and sent a hard pass from out by the blue line, and Smith redirected it in on the far side of the goal to ties the game up at 1. The period ended with Vegas leading the shot total 10-9, but they also had 11 giveaways as well.


Vegas’ inability on the powerplay poked its ugly head out again during the second period as the Golden Knights special team unit continued to struggle against a stellar Montreal penalty kill unit.


Vegas was given a powerplay early on as Tyler Toffoli was called for hooking against Reilly Smith with 16:45 remaining, but as has been the theme all series, they struggled to get set up in the offensive zone due to turnovers and bad passes. Montreal received a powerplay of their own after Vegas was called for too many men on the ice, and while they did not score with the man advantage, a goal came shortly after.

With 10:24 remaining Cole Caufield received the puck along the right boards while entering the zone and flipped the puck over Brayden McNabb’s stick before taking the puck to the goal mouth and beating Lehner high glove side, just like the scouting report said. VGK received another powerplay shortly after but was again rendered ineffective. The Golden Knights best look of the period came at 5:30 remaining as William Karlsson blasted a one-timer from the slot, but Price was able to get his left pad out to prevent the goal. Time expired, and the game went into the second intermission with Vegas’ backs against the wall in a do-or-die situation.


The third period saw Vegas come out and play a much better game and gain some momentum, but Lehner still had to come up with some great saves to keep his team in the game.


Golden Knights vs Canadiens
Photo Credit: NHL

It did not take long for the VGK to tie the game up, as they scored just 1:08 into the final period of regulation. The play started with Alex Pietrangelo shooting the puck on net, and Carey Price was unable to control the rebound, which allowed Alec Martinez to pounce on the puck and send it through the five-hole to tie the game up. No more goals were scored in regulation, thanks in big part to Lehner making huge saves on Suzuki, Danault, and Toffoli as the period went on. Regulation time ended with the score still tied 2-2 as both teams prepared for the overtime period for the third time in the series.

Overtime did not last long, and Vegas’ best chance came from Max Pacioretty as he snapped a puck at Price by the left circle but just could not get it to go in. Just 1:39 into extra time, Artturi Lehkonen scored the game and series winner. Phillip Danault received a pass from Brandan Gallagher to exit the zone and found Lehkonen open on the back door where he was able to send a wrist shot over Lehner, and just like that, the Vegas Golden Knights Stanley Cup run was over.


Looking Forward:


After an outstanding season and a deep run into the playoffs, it is hard to find any words that will give VGK and their fans any comfort right now. Looking forward to things like the draft is typically something that teams that do not make the playoffs do, so it is going to be a long and painful summer with no real relief coming until next season starts. Vegas still has plenty to hang their hat on, but I know the players and anyone with a competitive spirit will not be satisfied until they hoist the Stanley Cup and get to hang that iconic banner. Hopefully, they can use this disappointment as fuel as they head into the offseason and try to figure out what went wrong. It has been a joy writing about the Golden Knights this year, and I feel blessed to be in a town that truly loves their hockey team, as anyone who has attended a game can attest to. I look forward to rocking the house at T-Mobile with the rest of you next season; until then God bless and GKG!



Game 5:


The Vegas Golden Knights and the Montreal Canadiens matched up on Tuesday night to decide who would take a 3-2 series lead after splitting the first four games of the Stanley Cup Semifinals.


Golden Knights vs Canadiens
Photo Credit: NHL

The opening two minutes of game 5 were all VGK as they came out firing on all cylinders and put the pressure on Montreal to start out the game. They even forced the Canadiens to take an early penalty as Paul Byron was called for cross-checking against Zach Whitecloud with 17:55 remaining. The ensuing powerplay seemed to turn the momentum in Montreal’s favor though however, as Vegas struggled to get any quality looks or even zone entries and had trouble getting past their opponent’s sticks at the blueline.

Even though the shots were tied 6-6 by the end of the period, Montreal seemed like the team that did a better job of playing their game, bolstered by the fact that they scored the first goal of the game with 11:15 left in the period. Jesperi Kotkaniemi hit Josh Anderson with the breakout pass, which allowed him to skate up the ice and place a shot on Fleury that slid under his body and found Kotkaniemi on the far side with a wide-open net, which he promptly backhanded the puck into. And just like that, Montreal was playing with the lead and never looked back as they went into the first intermission with the lead.


The middle frame saw Fleury make a couple of saves to try and keep his team in the game but Montreal kept finding a way to score, thanks in part to some ill-timed penalties by Vegas.


Golden Knights vs Canadiens
Photo Credit: NHL

Just over four minutes in, Marc Andre Fleury made a big-time save on Paul Byron in typical acrobatic fashion. With 13:28 left, Montreal came upon the scoresheet again, though, as Eric Staal came in off of a line change after Nick Suzuki possessed the puck along the left boards and found Staal all alone where he was able to beat Fleury glove side to give his team a 2-0 lead. Two minutes later, Nicolas Roy was called for high sticking against Artturi Lehkonen and gave the Canadiens their first powerplay of the game.

The Montreal special teams came up big as Nick Suzuki forced a turnover from Mark Stone at his own blue line, sending the puck up to Corey Perry skating to the left circle and sent a no-look pass to Cole Caufield, who then beat Fleury high stick side to give his team a commanding 3-1 lead. Shea Theodore took a cross-checking penalty less than a minute later, but no more goals were scored the rest of the way. Fleury did make another huge save on Joel Armia with 6:57 left, but his team was unable to rally and cut into the Habs’ lead.


The final period of the game saw Vegas with a little more jump in their game but it was too little too late as Carey Price locked it down between the pipes stopping Reilly Smith twice after allowing a goal from Max Pacioretty.


With 15:51 left in the game, Nicolas Roy won a faceoff in the Montreal zone giving the puck to Max Pacioretty, who fanned on his first shot attempt but immediately followed through with a wrist shot to beat Price and give VGK their lone goal of the game. Vegas did their best to mount a third-period comeback, but Carey price showed why he has the reputation of an elite goaltender denying Reilly Smith twice on two grade-A chances in the final seven minutes. With Fleury pulled from the net, Nick Suzuki scored an empty-net goal with 1:06 remaining to put the final nail in the coffin on a 4-1 game 5 win by the Canadiens.


Looking Forward:


The Vegas Golden Knights will have a day to do some soul searching before returning to Montreal for Game 6 on Thursday in an attempt to stave off elimination. A big part of that soul searching will be figuring out how to get their big names like Mark Stone and Alex Tuch back on the scoresheet as well as the rest of their forwards. Before Pacioretty’s goal, Vegas’ defensemen had accounted for seven of their ten goals so far in the series. While it is always nice to have your D-men scoring, it should not be the only source, especially this deep in the playoffs when you’re trying to win a Stanley Cup. In addition to that, it will be interesting to see who DeBoer starts in net as Robin Lehner is the only goalie to get VGK a win in their past three games.

The Vegas Golden Knights will play game 6 of the semifinals against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday evening at the Bell Centre. The puck drop is set for 5 PM and will be on USA Network and FOX Sports Las Vegas 98.9/1340.



Game 4:


Golden Knights vs Canadiens
Photo Credit: NHL

Nicolas Roy scored 1:18 into overtime, and the Vegas Golden Knights evened the Stanley Cup Semifinals with a 2-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens in Game 4 at Bell Centre on Sunday.

Roy got his own rebound and flipped the puck over Carey Price after Max Pacioretty skated out from behind the net and took a shot from a sharp angle.

“That’s unbelievable,” said Roy, whose family was among the crowd of 3,500. “I always dreamed about scoring at the Bell Centre. Doing it in overtime in the series, the semifinals, it’s even better.”

Robin Lehner made 27 saves for the Golden Knights in his first game since May 30, when he allowed seven goals in a 7-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Second Round.

“I think a lot has to be said about Robin’s attitude this whole time,” Pacioretty said. “He’s been the No. 1 cheerleader on the team when he wasn’t playing. His positivity has rubbed off on us, so for him to go in there tonight, the player that we know he is was huge for our team.”

Vegas coach Peter DeBoer said part of his decision to start Lehner was based on Marc-Andre Fleury’s heavy workload and that it had nothing to do with the misplay by Fleury that allowed Montreal’s Josh Anderson to score the tying goal with 1:55 remaining in the third period of Game 3, which the Canadiens won 3-2 in overtime.

“[Lehner] was excellent,” DeBoer said. “I knew he’d be good.

Paul Byron scored, and Price made 19 saves for Montreal, which had won two straight games and eight of nine.

“We played a pretty good game, it could’ve gone either way,” Byron said. “They get the goal in overtime, that’s the way it is. It’s 2-2, go back to [Las] Vegas and focus on the next game, how to get better and make a big push for the next one.”

Game 5 of the best-of-7 series is in Vegas on Tuesday.

“You take the positives out of the game and continue to look at that,” Canadiens forward Corey Perry said. “The way we played at the start of the game, I mean, that’s our style of play. We were quick, we were on pucks, we were on top. If we keep doing that, we’re just going to keep wearing them down.”


Golden Knights vs Canadiens
Photo Credit: Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Byron gave the Canadiens a 1-0 lead at 18:55 of the second period. Nick Suzuki stepped out of the penalty box and hit a streaking Byron, who got behind defenseman Alec Martinez and beat Lehner over his blocker on a breakaway.

Montreal has not allowed a power-play goal in 11 straight Stanley Cup Playoff games. It is 26-for-26 on the penalty kill and has scored three shorthanded goals in that span.

“We just need to find a way to score more goals,” Canadiens defenseman Joel Edmundson said. “Overall, it was a good game. We didn’t give them too much, and when we did, Carey was there to stop it.”

Lehner made the save against Cole Caufield on a breakaway at 7:16 of the third period to keep it a one-goal game.

“It’s a world-class player coming down,” Lehner said. “I just tried to play it even like I played the first goal, I just challenged him. In the pre-scout, either he goes high or he goes five-hole, and it just looked like he was going five-hole, so I closed my legs.”

Brayden McNabb then scored his first playoff goal to tie it 1-1 at 10:37. The defenseman skated in from the right point, received a pass by William Karlsson from behind the net, and scored with a wrist shot that found an opening between Price’s glove and body.


The Golden Knights and Canadiens will now travel back to Las Vegas for Game 5 on Tuesday night. The puck drops at 6:00 pm at T-Mobile Arena.



Game 3:


The Vegas Golden Knights and Montreal Canadiens hit the ice for game 3 of the semifinals on Friday night with Vegas looking to take back home-ice advantage after dropping game 2 at T-Mobile Arena.


Golden Knights vs Canadiens
Photo Credit: NHL

Alex Tuch moved up to the first-line center to take over for an absent Chandler Stephenson, and Montreal went without their head coach on the bench due to covid protocol. Vegas came out with a much better start outshooting the Canadiens 5-0 in the first seven minutes, but Carey Price was up to the task holding VGK scoreless throughout the period.

Vegas was given two opportunities on the powerplay after Jesperi Kotkaniemi took a hooking penalty and Joel Armia was called for boarding, but the Habs penalty kill unit looked sharp, shutting the Golden Knights powerplay unit down at the blue line and clearing the puck on a normal basis. Vegas’ best look of the period came from Shea Theodore, who made a great move that left Montreal defenseman Artturi Lehkonen looking silly but still could not beat Carey Price. The period ended with Vegas leading the shot total 17-3 and the score tied at 0.


The second period saw Vegas continue to dominate the shot total but their lone goal was neutralized just 38 seconds after taking the lead.


Golden Knights vs Canadiens
Photo Credit: NHL

Vegas was given an early powerplay after Shea Weber reacted to a big hit by Brayden McNabb on Cole Caufield and was called for interference, but the Montreal penalty kill unit continued their streak of neutralizing the Golden Knights on the man advantage. With 16:44 left, Vegas scored their first goal f the game after Eric Staal made a bad play blindly passing the puck to the front of the net, and it landed right on Nicolas Roy’s stick, and he beat an unsuspecting Carey Price.

The lead only lasted 38 seconds, though, as Cole Caufield received a pass from Nick Suzuki for a breakaway and beat Fleury high stick side to tie the game with 16:06 remaining. Outside of the goal, Vegas continued to look like the better team, but Price continued to work his magic, making a huge save on Alex Tuch with his left pad while sliding post to post. Each team traded powerplay opportunities in the final six minutes but were unable to score as both teams went into the third period tied 1-1.


The third period saw Vegas take the lead early thanks to the hot stick of Alex Pietrangelo but a late period goal from Montreal after a big time mistake from Marc Andre Fleury forced the game into overtime.


Golden Knights vs Canadiens
Photo Credit: NHL

At 2:22 of the third period, Alex Pietrangelo had a give and go with Max Pacioretty before taking the puck to the high slot and fired a wrister to beat Price’s stick side. It was Pietrangelo’s fourth goal of the playoffs and his third in two games. I have heard many VGK fans complain about him during the regular season, but now is the time when he is needed to show up, and so far, he has.

Vegas played well with the remaining time left in the period, and it looked like they were going to go into game 4 with a 2-1 lead, but a late-game mistake changed all of that. With 1:55 remaining Fleury tried to handle the puck behind the net but fumbled it instead, and Josh Anderson picked up the lose the puck and slid it into the net to tie the game at 2. As the game went into overtime, both teams traded chances as the play on the ice opened up, but it was Josh Anderson who causes heartbreak for VGK fans for the second time in the same game. 12:53 into extra time, Josh Anderson knocked down a pass from Jesperi Kotkaniemi that went right to Paul Byron, who then found Anderson wide open on the far side of the net who tipped the puck past Fleury for the overtime game-winner. Montreal took a 2-1 series lead in a heartbreaking loss for the Vegas Golden Knights.


Looking Forward:


Well, it’s hard to find any comforting words after such a brutal loss, but the Golden Knights will have to find a way to erase it from their memory and turn their focus to Game 4 on Sunday night. Vegas outshot their opponent by a margin of 45-27 and were given four opportunities on the powerplay but were still unable to come out on top. It’s hard to give one single solution on how to win the next game, but their best choice is to continue to play hard on the forecheck and force the kinds of mistakes that allowed them to score the first goal of the game.

I do not see Carey Price getting any easier to score on, so they have to continue to make life as hard on him as they can, and they have to find a way to take advantage of the powerplay opportunities they’re given. Continuing to activate their defensemen would be wise as well since they have been the best players for Vegas so far this series; it wouldn’t hurt to see some of the forwards show up on the score sheet as well. Looking at you, Tuch, Stone, and Pacioretty.


The Vegas Golden Knights will play game 4 of the semifinals against the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday evening at the Bell Centre. The puck drop is set for 5 PM and will be on USA Network and FOX Sports Las Vegas 98.9/1340.


Game 2:


The Vegas Golden Knights and Montreal Canadiens matched up for game 2 of the semifinals on Wednesday night and the Habs took it to Vegas for most of the first period.


Golden Knights vs Canadiens
Photo Credit: David Becker/AP

Jeff Petry also made his return to the lineup after dealing with a hand injury, and his presence was felt early as Fleury had to make a difficult save on him just a few minutes into the game. Montreal continued to pour on the pressure in the following minutes opening up the scoring just over six minutes into the period. Joel Armia gathered a loose rebound and beat Fleury, who was still on his backside after making the initial save.

Unlike game 1, Montreal did not back off after the first 8 and continued to dominate play even while killing off a penalty. Petry was called for tripping against Alec Martinez with 10:09 remaining, but it was the Canadiens who had the better chances on the ensuing Vegas powerplay. With 3:30 remaining, Montreal scored their second goal of the period after Tyler Toffoli did not get all of a one-timer, but it seemed to fool Fleury as he overcommitted on the shot as it slid past him. The Canadiens did a good job of taking away VGK’s looks from the point as well after Vegas’ defenseman scored a few goals on Monday night and led 2-0 going into the first intermission.


The second period saw Vegas catch up in terms of shots and scoring chances, but some bad puck luck prevented them from tying the game.


At 3:22 of the second period, Max Pacioretty nearly brought his team within a goal, but the post denied his chance, and Carey Price denied Mark Stone shortly after to preserve his team’s two-goal lead. About two minutes later, Price made one of the best saves of the series stopping Alec Martinez on the backdoor with his stick on what would have surely been a goal. Vegas’ early pressure lead to a VGK powerplay with 14:05 remaining after Joel Armia was called for hooking against Zach Whitecloud but they were unable to score with the man advantage.

The last two and a half minutes of the period saw a pair of goals get scored and proved why it is never wise to leave your seat before the period ends. With 2:15 remaining Paul Byron scored after receiving the puck at the blue line and beating a flat-footed Keegan Kolesar before making a backhand move before roofing the puck against Fleury. Just 1:01 later, Alex Pietrangelo got his team on the board as he received the puck by the blue line after a face-off and did a good job recognizing the traffic in front of the net and shooting the puck past an unexpecting netminder. It was a huge goal for Vegas to get the momentum back in their favor after the game was starting to slip away from them.


The final twenty minutes of the game saw Vegas come out firing on all cylinders as they pushed to tie the game and give themselves a chance at another win before traveling to Canada for game 3.


Golden Knights vs Canadiens
Photo Credit: News Block

Alex Tuch was flying around all night pushing the pace of play for the Golden Knights but he either could not finish or would get stopped by the Montreal netminder. Three minutes into the period he registered a great breakaway chance but was denied by Price and the score remained 3-1. Marc Andre Fleury made some great saves himself with one of the most notable ones made on Corey Perry as he attempted a tip-in right at the top of the crease with 10:36 remaining. Four minutes later he thwarted Nick Suzuki as he got a shot in close while falling and was able to swing his stick over trying to capitalize on his own rebound but Fleury was able to kick his left pad out to keep his team in the game.

With just 5:14 remaining Alex Pietrangelo scored his second goal of the night off of the faceoff again with a great shot right above the glove hand of Carey Price to bring Vegas within a goal. The final five minutes saw the Golden Knights throw the kitchen sink at Montreal but were unable to score the equalizer and will go into Montreal on Friday with the series tied 1-1.


Looking Forward:


If the last two series have shown us anything, it is that game 1 is not always the best indicator of how the rest of the series will go. Montreal has a bunch of young and hungry players that don’t want the ride to end, and a handful of veterans like Carey Price and Shea Weber that know they could be coming up on their last ride so do not expect them to just roll over, especially not on home ice this weekend. Vegas will need to have a strong first period in both games and try to get an early lead as Montreal has proven to be quite stingy once they have it.


The Vegas Golden Knights will play game 3 of the semifinals against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday evening at the Bell Centre (it’s a French name, not a misspell). The puck drop is set for 5 PM and will be on USA Network and FOX Sports Las Vegas 98.9/1340.



Game 1:


The Vegas Golden Knights continued on their quest for a Stanley Cup on Monday evening taking on the 24-time Stanley Cup champions, the Montreal Canadiens in the first game of the third-round series.


Golden Knights vs Canadiens
Photo Credit: Stephen R, Sylvanie/USA TODAY Sports

Shea Theodore had a goal and an assist for the Golden Knights, who have won five straight games since losing the first two games in the Stanley Cup Second Round against the Colorado Avalanche. Marc-Andre Fleury made 28 saves in a 4-1 Game 1 victory in the Stanley Cup Semifinals at T-Mobile Arena on Monday.

“They came out strong. We didn’t play well in the first 10-15 minutes,” Vegas captain Mark Stone said. “‘Flower’ made a couple of big saves to ease the tension for us.”

Teams that take a 1-0 lead are 108-50 (.684) winning a best-of-7 NHL semifinal series.

Canadiens rookie Cole Caufield scored his first Stanley Cup Playoff goal, and Carey Price made 26 saves for Montreal. The loss ended a seven-game winning streak for Montreal that began with Game 5 of the Stanley Cup First Round against the Toronto Maple Leafs on May 27.

“For everyone, right now at this stage, you’re playing a team you haven’t played all year,” Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme said. “They have their strengths, but we have ours also.”

It was the first game in the United States for the Canadiens since March 7, 2020 (464 days). The Canadian government on June 6 announced its decision to allow NHL teams to cross the United States-Canada border for games beginning with the semifinals under a modified quarantine for the coronavirus.

The Canadiens played this season in the Scotia North Division, facing only the six other Canada-based teams through the Stanley Cup Second Round. They allowed 2,500 fans for the past three games at Bell Centre in Montreal after none were permitted in the regular season and for the start of the playoffs, and there were 500 in attendance for Games 1 and 2 of the second round at the Winnipeg Jets.

“We were excited to play in front of a full barn again,” Canadiens defenseman Joel Edmundson said. “It was fun, and we’ll be better next game.”


Golden Knights vs Canadiens
Photo Credit: NHL

Theodore gave the Golden Knights a 1-0 lead at 9:15 of the first period on a one-timer from the point. It was the defenseman’s first goal of the playoffs.

It was the first time Montreal trailed since the start of its winning streak. The stretch of 447:08 is the second-longest in NHL postseason history, behind the 1960 Canadiens (488:38).

“We talked in our pre-scout 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.”

Alec Martinez made it 2-0 at 2:18 of the second period on a one-timer from the right face-off circle. Theodore faked a shot from the slot, bringing Price out of the crease, before passing to the defenseman for his third goal.

Caufield cut it to 2-1 on the power play at 12:05. Fleury made the save on Tyler Toffoli’s shot from the slot, but Caufield scored into an open net on the rebound.


Golden Knights vs Canadiens
Photo Credit: John Locher/AP

Mattias Janmark scored 53 seconds later to make it 3-1 at 12:58 when he tipped Alex Tuch’s shot after it deflected off the skate of Canadiens defenseman Alexander Romanov.

“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.”

Defenseman Nick Holden made it 4-1 at 10:06 of the third period when he scored off a cross-ice pass from Reilly Smith.

Vegas became the second team to have three defensemen score a goal in one game in the third round of the NHL playoffs. The Pittsburgh Penguins did it in Game 5 of the 1991 Wales Conference Final.

“To get deeper in the playoffs, you need scoring from everyone,” Holden said. “If you get guys contributing that aren’t your big guns, you’re going to win games.”



The Vegas Golden Knights will play game 2 of their thrid-round series against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday evening at T-Mobile Arena. The puck drop is at 7 PM and will be on NBCSN and FOX Sports Las Vegas 98.9/1340.


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-D.J. Wood– Franchise Sports Media

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