The Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks met for the third and final time on Saturday night with both teams seeking to earn the victory in the decider.
To add some context to the story, Joel Armia was knocked out during game two by Tyler Myers and the league didn’t lay down a punishment, which left the Canadiens both unhappy and confused.
During the pre-game warmup, Joel Edmundson spoke with Tyler Myers, just giving him a notice that Montreal was coming after him. Corey Perry made his Habs debut on the third line with Tyler Toffoli and Jesperi Kotkaniemi. As well, Paul Byron was cleared after taking a Shea Weber snapshot off the foot in game two of the series.
As expected, less than five minutes in, Joel Edmundson dropped the gloves with Tyler Myers, which settled the score, nearly knocking him off his feet. As the game moved forward from there, Josh Anderson took the game’s first penalty just four minutes later, being called for interference.
The penalty kill so far this season has been up and down for the Montreal Canadiens with a couple of games where they had done a good job. There were others where the team had to prove themselves, at the same time displaying that more work had to be done.
Montreal managed to kill the first penalty, and a minute later, would open the scoring, as defensemen Brett Kulak would feed a backhand to Nick Suzuki, who would send a one-timer past Braden Holtby to get on the scoreboard.
With less than two minutes remaining, Corey Perry and Brock Boeser were penalized, allowing Montreal to start the second on the man advantage. The middle frame was much like the first, as both Vancouver and Montreal were going hard and the pace of the game was fast up and down the ice.
After both teams were charged with a penalty, Corey Perry put himself on the scoreboard with a rush down the ice while on a three-on-one. He finished with a well-played shot that went five-hole past Holtby, doubling Montreal’s lead.
Vancouver threw everything at the net, but Carey Price was there each time and kept the door, as both sides entered intermission. Up 2-0 on the Canucks, they were one period away from completing a winning road trip.
While struggling to start off fast in the third, that would see Vancouver capitalize, as the shutout dissolved a mere three minutes in. It was Elias Pettersson with a tip shot from the point, sending a rocket past Price to cut the lead to 2-1. Seemingly invigorating the hockey club, Nils Hoglander, just two minutes later, scored one of his own, which would tie the game at two.
Now, in a brand new hockey game, it was Montreal, who showed true resiliency, as three minutes later, off a forced turnover, Brandan Gallagher received a pass from Tomas Tatar and rifled it past Holtby to take the lead back, now up 3-2.
Vancouver would challenge the goal for offside, but upon further review, it was deemed onside, and thus a good goal. As a result of the lost challenge, that handed to the Habs another chance on the power play. Skating with the advantage intact, it was Montreal enforcing the pressure, and with that momentum, forward Jonathan Drouin scored his first of the season off a turnover from Vancouver.
The turnover was forced by Josh Anderson, who fed him the puck so he could go on a breakaway, fooling backstop Braden Holtby to regain the two-goal lead. That would be the end of Holtby’s night, as head coach Travis Greene made a gamble and pulled him with four minutes in the game’s third period.
Pulling the veteran didn’t work, as a moment later, Habs defensemen Joel Edmundson scored an empty net goal to triple their lead, now 5-2. That would be all she wrote, as Montreal took the rubber match victory, closing out their road trip with a 4-0-2 record. As well, through the six games they played, the Canadiens tallied 10 of 12 possible points and will now head home to face the Flames on Thursday night.
Being the first game at the Bell Centre this season, puck drop is scheduled to fall at 7:00pmET and is available for viewing on TSN2 and RDS. As well, the game can be heard on 98;5FM and TSN 690 Montreal.