Who would’ve thought the Montreal Canadiens of all teams would be in the best position out of the four participating in the Stanley Cup Semifinals? They did the world a favor by knocking out the Maple Leafs back in the first round, but now they’ve gone further than any of us thought - or hoped, they would. But somewhere deep down, in the sickest part of my mind, I know I prefer them over Vegas. No, I won’t elaborate.
You won’t find many games more entertaining than the final minute of yesterday’s contest alone. Despite dominating on the shot clock early on, Tampa Bay fell behind 3-0 on goals from Josh Bailey, Mat Barzal, and Matt Martin. However, early third-period tallies from Brayden Point and Tyler Johnson put an incredible amount of pressure on the Isles. Barry Trotz’s hardworking club went to work expertly defending the one-goal lead, actually evening up the shots on goal at 30 apiece by the end of the game. With under five seconds to go, and with the net empty, Ryan McDonagh’s quick thinking allowed for a fantastic move that put Semyon Varlamov out of position, leaving the net wide open.
Enter Ryan Pulock.
No matter how dominant the team, you can’t win a Cup without big moments like this one. It’s hard not to imagine the Isles leaving the Coliseum down 3-1 in the series if that puck goes in the net. Instead, they now have all of the momentum going into a best-of-three against the defending champs. Get that Cup, Pageau.
Game 4: Vegas Golden Knights @ Montreal Canadiens - 7:00 PM EST (MTL leads 2-1)