Montreal Canadiens had a difficult time countering shiny Vegas Golden Knights during the first semifinals game. Vegas won the first game beating Montreal 4-1.
This was Montreal’s first game outside Canada in 2021, and it happened amidst a boisterous 17, 884 fans. It was also the first encounter with a powerful team they haven’t played against all year long.
In the first half, Habs were on pace with Knights, but penalties and delays in the second period greatly sapped their power. Knight’s defencemen Shea Theodore opened the scoring 9:15 in the first period with a scaring slide-off Montreal goalie.
In the second period, Theodore faked a shot and forwarded the puck to Alec Martinez blasting it in a near-empty net, and leaving Carey Price diving across the crease in vain. Theodore was responsible for 18 shots on goal.
Price stopped 26 shots for Canadiens while Knight’s Marc-Andre Fleury had 28 saves. Montreal had their first goal at 12:05 in the second period after Cole Caufield buried a rebound of Tyler Toffoli’s shots for his first goal in the playoff.
Minutes later, Mattias Janmark buried the third goal for the Knights b tipping a drifting shot from Alex Tuch past Price pad. In the third period, Nick Holden made it 4-1 for the Knights, Reilly Smith had two assists in the night.
The highly favored Golden Knights won NHL best 40 games in the 56 games season and had 23 more points than Montreal in the league standing. However, the Canadiens have been underdog twice in the postseason.
They eliminated Toronto Maples Leafs, in the opening round. They were also thought to be less likely to overcome Winnipeg Jets in the second round. Now they are in Vegas after sweeping the Jets in four games.