2021 Stanley Cup Semifinals Game 6
MTL leads 3-2
How to watch
Start time: 8:00 PM EDT / 5:00 PM PDT
In Canada: CBC, Sportsnet (English), TVA Sports (French)
In the U.S.: USA
Elsewhere: NHL.tv/NHL Live
The Canadiens could have been discouraged by the result of Game 4. They handily outplayed the opponent in one of their best overall performance of the post-season, but weren’t able to gain separation from the Golden Knights and had to play a sudden-death overtime. For the first time in the post-season, they were unable to find the winner after doing so on the four previous occasions.
Vegas carried a bit of momentum into Game 5, with a flurry of shots in the opening minutes, but a penalty to Montreal early put them in a situation they’ve grown comfortable with this post-season, and they used a good kill to settle into the contest. It wasn’t long after the penalty expired that they put themselves in the lead, and they never looked back the rest of the way.
They ran their road record in the playoffs to 7-2 with the win. Now they have a chance to move on to the Stanley Cup Semifinal with a win at home.
Tale of the Tape
|48.4% (10th)||Corsi-for pct.||54.3% (5th)|
|2.50 (11th)||Goals per game||2.83 (6th)|
|2.19 (3rd)||Goals against per game||2.39 (4th)|
|20.0% (8th)||PP%||9.8% (16th)|
|93.2% (1st)||PK%||72.2% (12th)|
The Golden Knights, who finished the season tied for first place in the NHL, have to assess the situation. Marc-Andre Fleury played a major part in the team’s success this season, and every year since he was selected by the organization in the expansion draft. But going into a critical Game 6, he’s now lost three games in a row, surrendering a combined nine goals in those games. Robin Lehner, meanwhile, was the goaltender who faced down Montreal’s attack in Game 4 and came away with the win. Peter DeBoer surely at least thought about going back to Lehner last game, and now desperate for a win that internal debate must be raging.
The team needs a great showing from its goaltender, because Montreal’s defence is locking down the forwards. There’s little offence to be found in any situation for a team that averaged over three goals per game through the first two rounds; they’ve only managed three one time in five games versus Carey Price, a stalwart defence that has made more of an effort to let him deal with the shots and focus more on preventing any second-chance opportunities, and a full commitment to helping out in the defensive zone from all 12 forwards. The only truly dangerous part of Vegas’s game is their set faceoff plays that have resulted in about half of the offence they’ve mustered.
Every player in the league is now expecting to have a miserable night when he plays versus Phillip Danault and whichever linemates the Canadiens centre happens to have that night. In Game 5, however, we saw a bit more on the offensive side from Danault, Brendan Gallagher, and Artturi Lehkonen. They got a few chances from the cycle we used to see from the energetic line, but couldn’t cash in on their chances. If those three can add a goal to what the other three lines have been doing all series long, things will get a lot easier for the home team.
As impressive as Montreal’s road record has been, their success in elimination game has been even better: a perfect 4-0 since falling behind 3-1 to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Habs got clutch goals from the youngest players to help eliminate Toronto, then had one of the most one-sided games of the playoffs (even if Logan Stanley didn’t get the memo) in Game 4 versus the Winnipeg Jets. Tonight we’ll see if they can borrow from that previous experience to knock off a third team.