Paul Chiasson / The Canadian Press via AP
Published Sunday, June 20, 2021 | 10 a.m.
Updated Sunday, June 20, 2021 | 8:11 p.m.
Goaltending can only do so much for the Golden Knights but once it hit overtime they were going to need another goal. Nicolas Roy delivered.
Roy scored 1:18 into overtime to support a superb 27-save outing from Robin Lehner, and the Golden Knights defeated the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 at Bell Centre in Montreal on Sunday to even their Stanley Cup semifinal series at two games apiece.
Game 5 is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday at T-Mobile Arena.
Roy was patient with the puck, picking up his own rebound and waiting out goalie Carey Price, who dove in desperation to stop it. Roy chipped it over him for his second goal in as many games to send Vegas back home with a victory.
As good as the goal was, Lehner was the hero for the Golden Knights, making his second appearance of the postseason and second in 41 days. He was sharp early, making 11 saves in the first period as the Vegas offense didn't arrive until later. The only goal he allowed was off a breakaway from Paul Byron late in the second, a goal that felt ominous for Vegas.
Instead, Brayden McNabb made sure Vegas would not be shut out. He pinched in to collect a William Karlsson feed with 9:23 to go in the third and sneak it under Price's arm to tie the game 1-1. The score stood until Roy won it in overtime.
Vegas was outshot 28-19 for the game, the second-fewest shots the Golden Knights have ever had in a playoff game.
Check back to lasvegassun.com later for more coverage and read below for live updates from the game.
Golden Knights, Canadiens heading to OT for second game in a row
Brayden McNabb very well may have saved the Golden Knights' season. For now.
McNabb netted the only Vegas goal through regulation with 9:23 to go in the third period, tying Game 4 with the Montreal Canadiens. No one else scored, and for the second game in a row, the two teams went to overtime at Bell Centre in Montreal.
The Golden Knights were in trouble through two periods, with just 12 shots and needing to kill a penalty to start the the third. Montreal had two shots, but nothing overly dangerous.
The dangerous chance came with 12:44 remaining in the third when Cole Caufield broke loose in open ice. He had two goals alreayd in the period including a breakaway goal in Game 3, but Robin Lehner shut the door on a five-hole look.
Three minutes later, the Golden Knights evened it up. While the offense struggled throughout the first tow periods, one bright spot was the play of the line of Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson and Reilly Smith, and their shift tied the game. Karlsson fed a pinching McNabb, and McNabb snuck in under the arm of goalie Carey Price to tie the game.
Even that didn't classify as a high-danger chance by stats site Natural Stat Trick, and did not have one through regulation. Montreal had 18, and led in shots on goal 28-18.
Golden Knights offense invisible through two periods vs. Canadiens, down 1-0
The Golden Knights had their chances in the second period, swung and missed, and they've got some work to do in the third period.
The Golden Knights couldn't capitalize on a power play late in the second, and the Canadiens went the other way and scored immediately after, putting Montreal up 1-0 and 20 minutes from a 3-1 lead in the series.
The Golden Knights' second period was better than their first defensively, but still couldn't muster the kind of sustained attack they'd like. They even shook up the lines after a four-shot first period, for the second game in a row dropping Alex Tuch from the top-line center spot to his usual spot on the third line and elevating Tomas Nosek to that spot between Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone.
The game opened up a bit when Nosek and Shea Weber hit the box for matching roughing minors, sending it to 4-on-4 . The Golden Knights had a couple of looks, including an Alex Tuch offering that drew a penalty for the game's first power play.
The power play has been a struggle this postseason and it continued in Game 4. Alex Pietrangelo hit iron, which foreshadowed what was to come. The penalty expired, Nick Suzuki sprung Paul Byron for a breakaway and Byron buried it, putting the Canadiens up 1-0 with 1:05 to go.
The Golden Knights had just 12 shots through two periods and had yet to generate a high-danger scoring chance, according to Natural Stat Trick.
Montreal will begin the third period 1:38 of power-play time.
Robin Lehner keeps Golden Knights in Game 4 after first period
The goalie decision didn't hurt the Golden Knights in the first period of Game 4 against the Canadiens, but getting their forwards going continued to plague them.
Robin Lehner was superb for the Golden Knights in the opening period, but Vegas spent much of the time chasing the puck and making Lehner work too much. He was up to the ask, and the period ended in a 0-0 tie at Bell Centre in Montreal on Sunday.
The Canadiens came out with the jump they didn't have for much of Game 3. They were winning puck battles, winning races in the neutral zone and engaging the forecheck to keep the puck deep in the Vegas zone. The fourth line in particular was strong for the Canadiens, and created the best chance early on.
Corey Perry made a nifty move to get in deep and feed the puck to Eric Staal for the tap-in, but Lehner, making his first appearance since Game 1 of the second round, lunged across the crease to make the initial save, then gloved down the rebound attempt by Joel Armia. Lehner has played once in 41 days, but he looked sharp early.
It's a good thing he did, because the offense did not. The Golden Knights offense didn't start the game on time, looking a half-step slow every time it gathered the puck had had three shots on goal through almost 18 minutes, including a nearly 10-minute stretch without a shot.
Lehner made every save he asked to, helping get out of the period tied despite an 11-4 shots-on-goal lead for Montreal.
Robin Lehner expected to start for Golden Knights in Game 4
Pete DeBoer emphatically refused to say who will start in net for the Golden Knights against the Canadiens tonight — "Not a chance I'm confirming that," the Vegas coach said — but based on morning skate it looks like it will be Robin Lehner.
Lehner has started one game this postseason, giving up a career-high seven goals in a Game 1 loss to the Avalanche last round. Marc-Andre Fleury has been terrific this postseason save for one gaffe at the end of Game 3, but it appears Lehner will get the net for Game 4 at 5 p.m. And while teammates also didn't confirm who would be starting, they expressed confidence in Lehner when asked directly about him.
"Robin's done everything to keep himself ready," defenseman Zach Whitecloud said. "He's a constant pro and first and foremost a great teammate. He keeps himself ready, keeps himself dialed in and he comes to the rink and has fun every day. He's one of the best guys that I've ever been around."
Lehner was the first goalie off the ice at morning skate in Montreal, a typical indicator of that night's starter. And while it was a surprise to see him in line to start considering Fleury's play this postseason, his one outing isn't indicative of his play.
Remember Lehner started 16 of the Golden Knights' 20 playoff games last year on the road to the Western Conference Final, turning in a .917 save percentage and four shutouts. He carried that play over to the regular season when, despite a concussion that sidelined him for a month, he had a .913 save percentage and teamed with Fleury to win the Jennings Trophy as the goalies who allowed the fewest goals in the regular season.
He was shelled in Game 1 against Colorado, but players were quick to jump to his defense. The Golden Knights had just finished a seven-game series against the Wild while the Avalanche were rested, and Lehner took the net for the Golden Knights' eighth game in 15 days, or thrown to the wolves, as Fleury said.
Still, that was Lehner's only start since May 10, or 41 days ago. DeBoer said it's not just Lehner, but the "rust vs. rest" debate is something they consider when filling out the lineup card.
"Any players moving in and out of the lineup, it's always an issue," DeBoer said. "These guys practice every day. We have a lot of veteran players. Any lineup decisions we make of putting guys in, we throw all those factors into the hat when we're making those decisions."
Vegas had an optional morning skate in Montreal, so any other lineup choices are unclear. Top-line center Chandler Stephenson is not expected to play as the Golden Knights continue to find the puzzle piece that works. Tomas Nosek, who returned in Game 3 after missing 13 games, ended the game on the top line and is a possibility to start there tonight.
The Golden Knights have trailed in every series this postseason, including 1-0 to the Wild and 2-0 to the Avalanche. They have never overcome a 3-1 series deficit, and a win would turn the series into a best-of-three contest with two of the games in Las Vegas.
The Golden Knights are 2-0 in Game 4 this postseason and 6-4 all-time. They have trailed 2-1 in a series three times before this one, and are 1-2 in those Game 4s.
Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 3
Series: Canadiens lead 2-1
TV: NBC Sports Network (DirecTV 220, Cox 38, CenturyLink 640)
Radio: Fox Sports 1340 AM and 98.9 FM
Betting line: Golden Knights minus-185, Canadiens plus-165; over/under: 5.5 (plus-110, minus-130)
Golden Knights (9-7, West Division No. 2 seed)
Coach: Pete DeBoer (second season)
Points leader: William Karlsson (13)
Goals leader: Jonathan Marchessault (6)
Assists leader: William Karlsson (9)
Expected goalie: Robin Lehner (7.03 GAA, .811 save percentage)
Canadiens (10-4, North Division No. 4 seed)
Coach: Dominique Ducharme (first season)
Points leader: Tyler Toffoli (12)
Goals leaders: Joel Armia, Tyler Toffoli (5)
Assists leaders: Tyler Toffoli (7)
Expected goalie: Carey Price (2.10 GAA, .932 save percentage)
Golden Knights projected lineup
Max Pacioretty—Tomas Nosek—Mark Stone
Jonathan Marchessault—William Karlsson—Reilly Smith
Mattias Janmark—Nicolas Roy—Alex Tuch
William Carrier—Keegan Kolesar—Ryan Reaves
Alec Martinez—Alex Pietrangelo
Brayden McNabb—Shea Theodore
Nick Holden—Zach Whitecloud
Robin Lehner, Marc-Andre Fleury