The Montreal Canadiens avoided the sweep in game four of the Stanley Cup Finals on Monday night. Josh Anderson scored the game-winning goal of the game at 3:57 of overtime to give the Canadiens the 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. With the win, Montreal moved to 6-1 in the playoffs in overtime while Tampa fell to 0-4 in overtime playoff games this season.
Montreal still faces a major deficit. The series currently sits at 3-1 in favor of the Lightning. Here are a few major points that stood out in Montreal’s game four victory over the Lightning.
On Monday morning, news broke that Columbus Blue Jackets goalie, Matiss Kivlenieks, died in a fireworks accident. As a result, the Bell Centre paid their respects by holding a moment of silence pregame. Two of Kivlenieks’ former teammates in David Savard and Josh Anderson were playing in the game.
Savard, who was on the ice for Tampa at the time of the tribute, received a very lengthy close-up for NBC. Savard was seen bowing his head with his face overcome with emotion during the close-up.
Anderson, on the other hand, was on the Montreal bench at the time of the tribute. He was seen with his head lowered during the tribute. Anderson was the overtime hero for Montreal, but he also led the team with two of their three goals.
In what was already an emotional game for both sides, the added emotions felt by Anderson and Savard in particular showed that the game of hockey is bigger than just a sport.
Point, Kucherov Limited by Physical Play
Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov were each held without points in game four. Montreal’s game plan for shutting them down included checking the two star players any chance they got. Point only tallied two shots on goal while Kucherov tallied four shots.
The physical play translated into success for Montreal since they shut down two of Tampa’s star players. If Montreal hopes to make this series interesting, they’ll need to build upon their success in game four and keep playing a physical brand of hockey in games five and on. Tampa has the Canadiens against the ropes so there is no room for error from this point on.
Carey Price recorded his best game of this year’s Stanley Cup Finals in game four. He recorded series highs in save percentage (.941) and saves (32) in game four. Price is one of the big reasons why Montreal avoided getting swept in the first place. Because Montreal has little room for error, Price needs to be on top of his game going forward.
History in the Making?
Coming into game four, Montreal was facing a 3-0 series deficit. With their game four win, they move one step closer to erasing that 3-0 series deficit. The last team to erase a 3-0 series deficit and win the series was the Los Angeles Kings in 2014
No team has accomplished that feat in the Stanley Cup Finals since the Toronto Maple Leafs did it against the Detroit Red Wings in the 1942 Stanley Cup Finals. That means that if Montreal were to accomplish it this year, it would be the first time a 3-0 deficit was erased in the Stanley Cup Finals in almost 80 years.
Cover Image courtesy of theathletic.com