Before the pre-game show on Wednesday night, Sportsnet was showing Game 2 of the Los Angeles Kings and Montreal Canadiens Stanley Cup final series. After Eric Desjardins’s game-winning goal in overtime, Bob Cole has an iconic call, but it’s not “DESJARDINS” that I’m after this time. It’s how he wraps it up.
“The series is a brand new one.”
Nobody would have blamed the Canadiens coming back to Montreal for Game 3 down 2-0 in the series. After all, after the first game against the Vegas Golden Knights, there may be some people surprised they even played Game 2.
The fact is, the Canadiens come home with a split and they buy themselves some breathing room. The series is essentially now a best-of-five and the Canadiens have home-ice advantage. It’s the same situation that they faced against the Maple Leafs before they lost both games in Montreal. The alternative to that is that if they came back down 0-2, the series would have been over in that scenario.
Home ice isn’t a guaranteed advantage, after all, Vegas is coming off a road win in Colorado, and are 3-3 this post-season in road games. By contrast, they are 6-3 at home. Montreal is 3-2 at home, but have not lost since they allowed 2,500 fans in the building. That number goes to 3,500 for Games 3 and 4, but Vegas has played in front of full road arenas already.
The Canadiens guaranteed themselves another game in Vegas. If they can win one more game, they guarantee a Game 6 in Montreal. Nothing has been accomplished yet, but that’s not a bad place to be in as a significant underdog.
Game 1 was always going to be a challenge for the Canadiens because of the crowd’s energy, the long layoff, and missing Jeff Petry. Game 2 was always going to be an indication of how the rest of the series could look. After a seven-game winning streak, how would they bounce back from a loss?
Well, they pulled out the win and gave themselves a chance to change the narrative of the series.