The Vegas Golden Knights eased past the Montreal Canadiens 4-1 in Game 1 of their Stanley Cup Semifinal clash at T-Mobile Arena on Monday. Shea Theodore and Marc-Andre Fleury led the way for the Golden Knights who won their fifth straight game since falling behind 2-0 in their Stanley Cup Second Round series against the Colorado Avalanche.
Defensemen take center stage in Game 1
Shea Theodore starred for the Golden Knights, registering a goal and an assist in the Game 1 win. He opened the scoring for the Golden Knights at 9:15 of the first period, blasting a one-time shot from the blue line. Chandler Stephenson won the faceoff to the left of Montreal goaltender Carey Price, with the puck ending up with Brayden McNabb. He then found Theodore, who proceeded to launch a rocket shot from the point to give Vegas a 1-0 lead. It was Theodore’s first goal of the playoffs.
Theodore then set up Alec Martinez in the second period to give Vegas the 2-0 lead. Alec Martinez made it 2-0 at 2:18 of the second period on a one-timer from the right face-off circle. Theodore faked a shot attempt from the slot, bringing Montreal goalkeeper Carey Price out of the crease, before passing to Martinez for the defenseman’s third goal. It was a fantastic showing by Theodore who has only gotten on the scoresheet four times through 14 playoff games. Those four playoff games, however, including this Game 1 win have been multi-point efforts. He now has one goal, seven assists, 40 shots on net and a plus-6 rating in 14 postseason appearances.
Joining the scoring parade for Vegas were Mattias Janmark and defenseman Nick Holden. After Cole Caufield opened his playoff scoring account at 12:05 of the second period to cut the Golden Knights’ lead to 2-1, Janmark restored two-goal advantage just 53 seconds later. He scored on a deflection at 12:58 of the second period after Alex Tuch’s shot deflected off the skate of Montreal defenseman Alexander Romanov. Holden then gave Vegas a 4-1 lead at 10:06 of the third period when he scored off a cross-ice pass from Reilly Smith for the final goal of the contest. It marked the first time in this year’s playoffs that a team got three goals from defensemen in a single game.
Fleury continues postseason brilliance
Marc Andre Fleury stood tall for the Golden Knights in defense, making 28 saves in Game 1. He has been a beast for Vegas on the crease, allowing two or fewer goals in nine of his 13 playoff games this season. Fleury now has 90 playoff wins in his career, leaving him two shy of tying Grant Fuhr for third place on the all-time list.
It’s back to the drawing board for the Montreal Canadiens who had their seven-game winning streak in the postseason snapped. The last time Montreal lost in the playoffs was in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup First Round against the Toronto Maple Leafs on May 25. The Canadiens probably were still getting used to the playoff atmosphere as this was their first game with more than 2,500 fans in attendance since they hosted the Nashville Predators in front of 21,021 fans inside Bell Centre on March 10, 2020. 17,884 fans were in attendance for Vegas’ Game 1 win on Monday.
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