NHL Wednesday NBC Sports Network Preview: Montreal Canadiens at the Vegas Golden Knights.
Vegas looks to take a 2-0 lead in their semifinals series with Montreal after taking Game 1 by a 4-1 score on Monday.
Vegas opened the scoring at the 9:15 minute mark of the first period with a goal from Shea Theodore. Alec Martinez made it a 2-0 score at the 2:18 minute mark into the second period. Cole Caufield cut the score in half with a power-play goal at 12:05 of the second period. Mattias Janmark with a goal 53 seconds later to give the Golden Knights a 3-1 lead. Nick Holden added the final score at 10:06 of the third period.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 28 of the 29 shots he faced while making +3.6 saves above expectation in the game. He has a 9-4 record in the postseason with a 1.84 goals-against-average and a .927 save percentage.
Second-line center William Karlsson leads the team with 12 points in the playoffs from four goals and eight assists. Second-line right wing Reilly Smith has nine points from two goals and seven assists. Second-line left wing Jonathan Marchessault leads the Knights with six playoff goals. Top-line forwards Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone, third-line forwards Alex Tuch and Mattias Janmark, and defensemen Alex Pietrangelo and Shea Theodore have all chipped in eight points.
The game on Monday was the first time that the Canadiens played in the United States since March 7th of 2020. With over 18,500 fans in attendance at T-Mobile Arena on the Las Vegas strip, the contest was also the first time that Montreal had played in front of more than 2500 fans since March 10th of last year. Montreal responded to the environment by generating seven high danger scoring chances in the first period, all thwarted by Fleury. Vegas had only one high danger scoring chance in the first 20 minutes but still went into the locker room with the 1-0 lead from the Theodore goal.
Carey Price made 26 saves in the loss. He has an 8-4 record in the playoffs with a 2.15 goals-against-average and a .929 save percentage.
Tyler Toffoli leads the team with four goals, seven assists, and 11 points in the postseason. Nick Suzuki has also scored four goals while adding four assists. Eric Staal, Joel Armia, and Corey Perry all have seven points apiece.
Injuries are taking a toll on the Canadiens. Top-line left wing Tomas Tatar is out indefinitely. Top-four defenseman Jeff Petry has missed the last two games with an injury. He is questionable to play tonight. Fourth-line center Jake Evans is questionable as he goes through the concussion protocol. Depth defenseman Jon Merrill, a trade deadline acquisition from Detroit, is questionable with a lower-body injury.
Vegas is as healthy as they have been all season. They are unbeaten at home at the Fortress since COVID-related capacity guidelines got lifted. The victory on Monday extended their winning streak to five games. Montreal's seven-game winning streak ended with the loss.
BookMaker lists Vegas as a -275 money line favorite with the total set at 5.