2021 North Division Final Game 3
MTL leads 2-0
How to watch
Start time: **6:00 PM EDT / 3:00 PM PDT**
In Canada: Sportsnet (English), TVA Sports (French)
In the U.S.: NBCSN
Elsewhere: NHL.tv/NHL Live
In Game 2, we saw more of the goaltending we expected in the second-round series between teams backed by Carey Price and Connor Hellebuyck. Only perfection would do on Friday night, and Price was the one who delivered that performance.
He did have a lot of help from the players in front of him. It wasn’t your common case of the goaltender stealing a game his team deserved to lose. Montreal was leading on the shot counter late in the third period with a 1-0 lead until a flurry at the end of the game had the Jets pull away. Desperate to avoid going into a 2-0 hole in their own building, the Jets managed just one more high-danger chance than Montreal in the final period.
The Canadiens now head home for the first time this series and have the opportunity to end it without heading back to Winnipeg. As was the case in Game 6 of the first round, there will be 2,500 fans cheering them on, hoping to will their team to a spot in Round 3.
Tale of the Tape
|48.2% (10th)||Corsi-for pct.||46.1% (12th)|
|2.22 (12th)||Goals per game||2.83 (7th)|
|2.33 (4th)||Goals against per game||2.33 (5th)|
|16.7% (12th)||PP%||20.0% (9th)|
|89.3% (1st)||PK%||81.3% (6th)|
The two games at the Bell Centre will be played on consecutive days. In an effort to have them as close to primetime as possible while still giving the players some rest, the start times will be offset, so tonight’s game starts at 6:00 PM, and Monday has a late 8:00 PM start.
Montreal was able to set itself up well for the back-to-back. Phillip Danault played fewer than 20 minutes in his shutdown role in Game 2 (five of Winnipeg’s attackers eclipsed that mark) and therefore didn’t expend every ounce of energy. That was because Dominique Ducharme was able to roll his four lines all night long.
With the lead at just one and the minutes ticking away, Cole Caufield was taking a regular shift as a trustworthy member of the forward core. Even the most optimistic projections for Caufield probably had him needing a few seasons of sheltered deployment to get comfortable in the critical defensive situations, but his top-end anticipation and understanding of the game are revealing a strong 200-foot game for a player known for his goal-scoring.
On the offensive side, Caufield was much more trigger happy in the second game than he was in the first, tying with Jesperi Kotkaniemi with a game-high five shots on target. He doesn’t have a goal yet in the post-season, but that may change very soon.
Montreal will probably need more than one goal to win this game, especially with the report that Paul Stastny is likely back in for the Jets tonight. He may not be at 100%, but he should still be able to contribute on the offensive side, which is much needed for the team after so few quality looks in Game 2.
There’s much more than Winnipeg has to offer, but the same is true of a Canadiens team that got goals from all four lines in Game 1 to show off its depth. Montreal will be ready for whatever game their opponent wants to play, and the proper execution could see them heading to their beds with a 3-0 series lead.