The first battle goes to Vegas
LAS VEGAS – The Montreal Canadiens fought them well for about 30 minutes, but the Vegas Golden Knights took the honor relatively easily, winning 4-1 in front of 17,884 spectators at T-Mobile Arena on Monday.
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With a fifth straight win, the Golden Knights stopped the Habs’ playoff winning streak seven.
The attack came from the defense for the winners: Shea theodore, Alec martinez and Nick holden got three goals, the other having the work of Mattias Janmark. Golden Knights defenders totaled six points.
« The Golden Knights have strong defensemen, » said the goaltender Carey Price who did his best by mastering 26 throws. “They get involved and they find the lines of fire. That’s what good defenders do. We’ll have to find a way to counter that. «
Cole caufield was CH’s lone scorer against Marc-André Fleury, who turned away 28 shots. It was for the young American his first success in the NHL in the playoffs. He carried out the feat of arms in the presence of his parents, moved.
“The Canadians came out strong,” said Fleury. They were in our zone for a good part of the first half. There were a lot of people around the goal. When we got out of that, we played our way with control of the puck. It’s a 60-minute game, so you didn’t have to panic and be patient. This is what the guys did. «
The second duel will take place again in the fortress of the “Golden Knights” in two days, Wednesday (9 p.m. ET; TVAS, SN, CBC, NBCSN).
All good thing …
The presentations did not drag, animosity was quickly created.
The Canadiens had an excellent comeback in this area. Brendan Gallagher disturbed Fleury, by storming the net. The Quebec goalkeeper made his best save of the first period against him, at short distance.
The CH was able to deploy the first power play, without being able to be threatening.
Alexander Romanov sent ass over head Alex Pietrangelo, who no longer heard to laugh.
However, it was the Golden Knights who scored first, at 9:15. All good things have an end. Theodore’s goal ended the CH streak without being late at 447:08 minutes – almost 7:30. It was the second longest in NHL history, behind that of 488:38 that the Canadians of 1960 had known.
On the streak, the defender was able to start following the face-off won by Chandler Stephenson against Nick Suzuki.
“It was crucial to get the first goal,” said coach Peter DeBoer. We talked about it in our meetings. We knew it would make them a little more uncomfortable in their structure, having to play catch-up hockey. They hadn’t had to do it for a long time. The goal was scored at a good time, considering the way we were playing. We were able to take a deep breath and find our identity. «
The Canadians made it difficult for themselves by taking penalties in succession.
“More than the Golden Knights’ first goal, it was the penalties that broke our rhythm,” said interim coach Dominique Ducharme. “We always want to get the first goal. Every team in the world wants to do it, but it hasn’t changed how the game unfolds tonight. «
Video: The Canadiens give up the 1st game to the Knights, 4-1
The hosts doubled their lead early in the second period, shortly after a CH penalty ended at 2:18. Theodore bit the dust on the defense by pretending to fire a shot. He instead relayed the disc to Martinez on the right side. The defender only had to aim for the gaping opening.
Price saw to keep the score at bay by frustrating Mark Stone at the end of a redundant descent with Max Pacioretty.
The visitors narrowed the lead on the power play to 12:05. Caufield missed his first attempt to drive the disc into the net, but he did not miss his second chance, following the initial throw return from Tyler toffoli.
The Golden Knights came in 53 seconds later. Janmark deflected Alex Tuch’s shot following the lost face-off by Jesperi Kotkaniemi in his area.
Before the end, Price saw to deprive the Golden Knights of a more pronounced lead by frustrating Jonathan marchessault, who drew with all his might.
In the third period, the Golden Knights made sure the Canadiens didn’t come from behind. Holden’s goal at 10:06 sealed the deal.
The « blue-white-red » retired Price in favor of a sixth player with more than four minutes to play, but to no avail. However, he made his column of fire fatter.