Ross Colton’s first goal of the Stanley Cup Final held up as the game-winning goal as an Andrei Vasilievskiy clinched his fifth straight series — and second straight Stanley Cup — with a shutout as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 on Wednesday night at Amalie Arena.
The Lightning win their second straight Stanley Cup, and Montreal’s incredible run ends three wins short. Vasilevskiy made 21 saves and clinched the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoffs most valuable player.
“[It was] a one-goal game tonight,” said Canadiens interim head coach Dominique Ducharme. “One play. We could have easily been heading back to the Bell Centre the way we wanted to be.”
The Lightning took momentum early in the first period, aided in part by an early Corey Perry tripping penalty less than three and a half minutes into the game. The best chance of the power play ended with Brayden Point losing the puck in front of Carey Price.
After the kill, the Canadiens got a power play of their own. It was interrupted twice, however, by other penalties. Erik Cernak and Perry went off with coincidental minors, and shortly Josh Anderson stopped what would have been a Blake Coleman breakaway with a hooking penalty that ended a very underwhelming power play.
Price was solid throughout the period, making 13 saves as the Lightning outshot Montreal 13-4 in the period. The play wasn’t as lopsided as the shots would have you think, as the Canadiens held the Lightning without a high danger chance at five-on-five, and five-on-five shots at goal were only 9-8 for Tampa Bay.
Early in the second, Montreal got another opportunity on the power play when David Savard cleared the puck over the glass and took a delay of game penalty. It did not go better, except that it was shorter in actual time because there were no stoppages.
The penalty did kick start a more eventful opening five minutes of the period. Montreal’s best chance of the game to that point came right after the penalty when they forced Andrei Vasilevskiy to make two saves, including Artturi Lehkonen on a long rebound.
Price came up big on a Pat Maroon chance when he was able to skate in close.
The Canadiens had a third opportunity on the power play 8:32 into the second period. Mikhail Sergachev tripped Nick Suzuki in a one one one battle. On the ensuing power play, Cole Caufield hit the cross bar in a flurry of chances, which were the first real chances on team’s power play all game.
The power play generated some momentum as the Suzuki line came out after the penalty and created more chances.
However, it was the Lightning who opened the scoring against the run of play. After some pressure at the side wall, Ryan McDonagh got the puck to Savard who fed Colton right in front who re-directed it past Price. It was Colton’s fourth goal of the playoffs, and the two players who were after their first Stanley Cup combined on what was the eventual Cup-winning goal.
Shortly after the goal, the Canadiens bounced back with another chance from the Suzuki line. Cole Caufield had the puck, passed it to Josh Anderson, who couldn’t handle it cleanly, and the pass back to Caufield couldn’t generate a shot.
In the final minute of the second period, Lehkonen had a chance on one end and Point came back right after. The chance forced Ben Chiarot to take a penalty that overlapped into the start of the third period.
After the penalty was killed, Price made perhaps his biggest save of the game under three minutes into the period. Nikita Kucherov made a pass from behind the net to Ondrej Palat but his shot hit off of Price’s right pad.
Price made 29 saves in a losing effort.
Montreal’s best chance of the game came with 16:30 left in the third period. Josh Anderson found his way behind the Lightning defence and on a partial breakaway. He couldn’t beat Vasilievskiy and went hard into the post. He would briefly go to the dressing room but returned.
In a last ditch effort to get the equalizer, the Canadiens pulled Price and had some offensive zone time with the puck but were unable to beat Vasilevskiy.