Game two on the other hand showcased how Montreal has a chance to beat the VGK. Despite controlling much of play in the second and third period, another poor start doomed Vegas to a 3-2 loss to the Canadiens.
“[Slow starts have] been a topic of conversation for a little while,” Alex Pietrangelo said. “It's something we need to continue to talk about and fix. [We were] not good enough in the first period.”
Just as they did in the first period of game one, the Habs came out on fire. Unlike the first game however, Marc-Andre Fleury was unable to prevent the floodgates from bursting. After the Vegas fourth line found themselves hemmed into their own zone, Joel Armia scored to give the Habs their first lead of the series. Later in the period, Tyler Toffoli scored in the high slot to give the Habs a 2-0 lead heading into intermission.
The Golden Knights came out much stronger in the second period. Max Pacioretty and Alec Martinez had grade A chances early, but were unable to capitalize. Late in the period, however, a poor pinch at the blue line let Paul Byron walk in alone on Fleury. Byron would eventually score to extend the Habs lead. Alex Pietrangelo added a late goal before the period ended to cut the Habs lead back to two.
The Golden Knights pulled within one goal with about five minutes to go in the third period, but the deficit proved to be too much. They generated some quality looks after the goal from Pietrangelo, but were unable to get the equalizer by Carey Price. They fell 3-2 and allowed Montreal to tie the series up at 1-1.
Despite being out shot by a wide margin in the second and third period, the Habs defense held tight. They did an excellent job of getting in front of shots and clearing the front of their net. Whenever there were defensive lapses, Price was there to bail them out.
Up until this point, slow starts for the VGK have not haunted them. They had always been able to rebound and find a spark to get them going. Tonight, that spark came too little too late. This issue that has been occurring as of late needs to be fixed. If it does not, the Golden Knights will be in serious trouble.
“You can’t go down 2-0 and expect to win the game,” Mark Stone said. “I thought the last two periods we played pretty well. Chasing the game against anybody is not an easy task, but these guys play a really good team game when they have the lead.”
Game three between the two teams will be on June 18. This will also be the first time a US team has crossed the border with Canada since the bubble in Edmonton last season. Puck drop for game three will be at 5 P.M. PST.