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MONTREAL, QUEBEC – JULY 05: Josh Anderson #17 of the Montreal Canadiens scores the game-winning goal past Andrei Vasilevskiy #88 of the Tampa Bay Lightning to give his team the 3-2 win during the first overtime period in Game Four of the 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Bell Centre on July 05, 2021 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo : Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
The Montreal Canadiens kept their flickering title hopes alive with a dramatic 3-2 overtime victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Monday night.
Josh Anderson scored twice, including the overtime game-winner for the Habs, who now head back to Tampa for Game 5, trailing by just 3-1 in the best-of-seven series.
Tampa Bay started the game like a house on fire as the Lightning searched for the opening goal that will put them on their way to a second consecutive Stanley Cup crown and the first Finals sweep since the Detroit Red Wings pulled off the feat in 1998.
Montreal finally scores first
Tampa Bay entered this contest with a 15-2 record in these playoffs when scoring first. It looked like that will be the case again in Game 4 with the Canadiens not getting a shot on target in the first eight minutes of the first period and Tampa Bay building a 25-8 advantage in shot attempts by the first intermission.
Surprisingly, Montreal drew first blood this time around, with Anderson scoring the opener at 15:39 of the first period. The Habs finally grabbed a lead in this series, ending a streak of 195:39 minutes of them either tied or trailing.
However, the Lightning battled back, with Barclay Goodrow tying the game at 17:20 of the second period. Ryan McDonagh initiated the attack by breaking up a Jeff Petry outlet pass to keep the puck in Montreal’s zone. He then outworked Petry for the rebound from Blake Coleman’s shot and delivered a perfect backhand pass to Goodrow for an open-net goal, his second of this postseason.
Montreal regained the advantage at 8:48 of the third period after a fantastic strike from defenseman Alexander Romanov. He blasted a wrist shot from the right point to score in his first appearance since Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals against the Vegas Golden Knights on June 14. Montreal coach Dominique Ducharme’s gamble on Romanov paid dividends as he became the youngest defenseman in Canadiens history to score a goal in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Tampa Bay equalized once again at 13:48 of the third period with Pat Maroon scoring from the slot off a pass from Mathieu Joseph on the rush, setting up a tense finish with the game tied at 2-2.
Montreal’s penalty kill made the difference as Anderson nets winner in OT
The Stanley Cup was there for the taking for Tampa Bay, especially when Montreal defenseman Shea Weber was called for high-sticking Lightning forward Ondrej Palat at 18:59 of the third period. Armed with a four-minute power play that extended into overtime, the Lightning failed to break down Montreal’s defense, who entered Game 4 with just five power-play goals allowed in 53 opportunities (90.6% success rate) this postseason.
The Canadiens’ penalty kill was outstanding once again on Monday, stopping all five of Tampa Bay’s power-play chances, including the decisive one near the end. Montreal took full advantage of that squandered opportunity by the Lightning, with Anderson scoring the goal of the night less than four minutes into overtime.
The Canadiens improved to 6-1 in overtime in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, while the Lightning has now lost each of their four overtime games this postseason.
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