The Montreal Canadiens will live to see another day after surviving a four-minute minor in overtime to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 on Monday evening at the Bell Centre.
The Canadiens will remain in must-win territory, with Tampa playing host to Game 5 on Wednesday evening.
The first 15 minutes were all Tampa Bay, with the club leading the shot count 11-1 at one point. But the Bell Centre erupted with 4:21 remaining in the opening stanza when Nick Suzuki danced around a defender laying on the ice and caught Josh Anderson alone in the slot. Anderson wasted no time sending the shot in the back of the net, giving the Canadiens their first lead of the series after a slow start to Monday’s battle.
The Canadiens definitely looked like the better team in the early stages of the second period, sending a flurry of shots towards Andrei Vasilevskiy. But with 2:40 left to play in the stanza, the Lightning put the Habs in a tight spot with Barclay Goodrow’s second of the post-season. Ryan McDonagh made a nice pass into the slot while under attack following a Blake Coleman shot to create the goal just seconds after Corey Perry failed to get the puck out of the zone. Goodrow was all alone in front for the goal, giving some life to a Tampa team that wasn’t able to capitalize on a great first period, but finally cracked through after a great second.
One of the more interesting battles in the game was Shea Weber’s play against Brayden Point. The hulking Canadiens blueliner threw a couple of big hits on the Lightning star, sending the building into a frenzy as the action got heated. Point later would miss a few shifts after blocking a shot from Hedman prior to Tampa’s game-tying goal late in the frame.
The Lightning looked more dangerous in the third and controlled the better portion of the high-danger scoring chances. But it was Montreal that struck next, with rookie defenseman Alexander Romanov scoring the biggest goal of his career in just his third game of the post-season. Despite playing all but two games in the regular season, Romanov only had seen two games of action, with an appearance each against Winnipeg and Vegas. But with time and space, the blueliner beat Vasilevskiy blocker side with Arturri Lehkonen providing the screen, giving Montreal its second lead of the game at 8:48.
But exactly five minutes later, Tampa Bay answered back. With three players in each box for previous infractions, Patrick Maroon found a way to shine after taking Mathieu Joseph’s pass behind Romanov’s sprawling defensive effort and beat Carey Price short side for the 2-2 goal. Tampa put on the pressure in the ensuing minutes, but the game would head to overtime to decide the fate of the Stanley Cup.
The turning point of the game came after Montreal successfully killed a four-minute penalty kill in overtime after Shea Weber received a double minor for high sticking. Montreal had momentum after the kill, and a shift after surviving the Tampa onslaught, Anderson would get his own rebound to score the game-winning goal, sending the series back to Tampa Bay.
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