The Tampa Bay Lightning had a stranglehold on the series. They were up 3-0 and had a chance to complete the sweep on Monday night. But the Montreal Canadiens refused to quit. Goaltender Carey Price put up his best game of the Playoffs to hold off the Lightning and push the Canadiens to a 3-2 Overtime win. Price stopped 32 shots for a .941 save percentage. His saves turned the tide for the Canadiens and helped them win, especially in Overtime. The Lightning had their chances in Overtime with 2:59 seconds left on a double minor on Shea Weber, but Price stonewalled them, and shortly after the Canadiens won.
Anderson Begins It
The first goal was crucial. The Canadiens had not led during the three Finals games, but they finally got a lead thanks to Josh Anderson. 15 minutes into the game, Anderson caught a great pass from Nicholas Suzuki and finished it before Andrei Vasilevskiy could react.
Suzuki capitalized on a bad Lightning change and forced a defender out of position by going behind the net and found the open Anderson for the goal. That goal gave the Canadiens all the momentum during the first and second periods.
Barclay Goodrow tied the game with three minutes left in the second. Ryan McDonagh stole the puck, and it went to Blake Coleman. Coleman gave it back to the charging McDonagh who caught the rebound and passed it to Goodrow who had an open net and buried it. The third period was set up to be incredible, and it did not disappoint.
Youngster and Vet Keep Game Tied
In the third period, the Canadiens were looking for any momentum to keep the crowd engaged. Before the game, they brought in Alexander Romanov, Brett Kulak, and Jake Evans into the lineup. Those three replaced Jon Merrill, Erik Gustafsson, and Jesperi Kotkaniemi.
Romanov answered the call in the third period. On the blue line, he snapped a shot at the goal. A Canadien crossed Vasilevskiy right as the shot came, and the puck ended up in the net. Romanov became the youngest defenseman in Canadiens history to score in the Stanley Cup Finals at 21 years, 180 days old. The Canadiens appeared in control, but the veterans for the Lightning stepped up.
With only nine minutes left to play, Patrick Maroon caught a great pass from Mathieu Joseph to tie the game. No team could score in the last minutes, but Weber was assessed a double minor penalty for high sticking Ondrej Palat and drawing blood with only 1:01 in the game.
Anderson Ends It
With the Lightning on the power play, the Canadiens were fighting an uphill battle. But the Canadiens were the best-equipped team for that battle, as they have now killed off 58/63 penalties throughout the Playoffs. They even had a two-on-one shorthanded in Overtime, but Vasilevskiy was there to stop them. Once Weber returned to the ice, it was a matter of time before the Canadiens won.
Josh Anderson buried the last shot to send both teams back to Tampa. Anderson caught Victor Hedman fumbling the puck and raced up the ice. He had Cole Caufield on his right and got the puck to Caufield. Caufield shot it, but the rebound ended up back with Anderson. Before Vasilevskiy could react, Anderson snapped the shot in, and the Canadiens bench mobbed him.
The Canadiens still are fighting an uphill battle, as only one team has come back from down 0-3 in the Stanley Cup Finals, the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs. However, with how Price played in Game 4, anything could be possible.
Game 5: Canadiens (1-3) @ Lightning (3-1), Wednesday, July 7, 8:00 pm, Amalie Arena