Montreal Canadiens Win in Overtime to Force Game 5 in Tampa Bay
As Tampa Bay stomped on the Canadiens in Game 1 and outlived them in Game 2, they resisted the temptation to make personnel changes, preferring to focus on themselves. But desperation drives action.
In an attempt to promote more offense, Ducharme replaced forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi with Jake Evans and scrambled the lines for Montreal, moving Anderson to a line centered by Nick Suzuki to add a net presence and more speed. Ducharme also put Montreal’s entire third defensive duo on the bench, bringing in Brett Kulak and rookie Alexander Romanov, whom Ducharme called more dynamic skaters, in place of Jon Merrill and Erik Gustafsson.
Those moves proved prescient nearly 16 minutes into the first period, when after a slow start – just one shot at that time for Montreal – the Canadiens took their first lead of the series, on a streak that started with Kulak deftly avoiding the pressure in his own. zone and ended with Suzuki whipping a nifty backhand pass through the crease to a cutting Anderson.
It was Romanov – who hadn’t played since Game 1 of the previous round against Vegas – who drew 1-1 at 8:48 of the second, his point wrist shot whistling through an Artturi screen. Lehkonen and ahead of Andrei Vasilevskiy. And it was Anderson again, after Patrick Maroon converted a two-on-one with 6:12 left in regulation, who ensured that Montreal would need the players’ bags before the game.
Anderson knocked down the left wing, beat defenseman Jan Rutta and headed for the net, landing a backhand pass to the crease. Cole Caufield slid the puck, which deflected Yanni Gourde’s stick straight at Anderson, who, falling as he shot, never saw him enter.
“I just looked at the referee’s hands and saw a bunch of people coming towards me,” Anderson said.
These folks were all dressed in blue, white and red, reveling in avoiding what would have been the first Cup final sweep since 1998 and winning what they hope will not be the last game of this bizarre season at the Center. Bell.
Only four teams in NHL history have overcome three-game-to-none deficits, and only one – the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs – did so in the final. No team clings to its history like the Canadiens – Yvan Cournoyer, Guy LaFleur and Patrick Roy, all legends – attended Monday’s game, and while they may not have won the first, the second or third game in this series, at least now they’re playing a fifth.
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