The Montreal Canadiens are perhaps the unlikeliest participants in this year’s semi-finals, but they can’t act like it. The Vegas Golden Knights are as formidable an opponent as they’ve seen this season, and they have to play as if they absolutely belong there.
They did, for about 20 minutes at least. Welcome to your Bottom Six Minutes for a sad game 1 loss in Nevada.
The old problem from early on in the Leafs series is back. The Habs had 20 great minutes, while the rest of their game was rather pedestrian. Like they did against the Leafs, they will need to figure out how to play a full game the way they did in the first on Monday night.
Another returning problem from the first round is their abysmal second period. The long change does not favour this team, and though they seemed to be getting better at it as the playoffs have gone on, game 1 featured some regression on that front.
There were some encouraging signs, of course. The first period was great, the power play looks dangerous, and Cole Caufield is getting involved on the goal scoring front.
Wednesday night will be huge if these Canadiens can take a game and remove home ice advantage from the Knights before taking the series back to Montreal.