Tomas Tatar (90) was the hero of the game, beating Marc-Andre Fleury in the shootout.
January 18, 2020 22h07
Updated at 23h01
Tomas Tatar slice into a shootout and Canada beat the Golden Knights 5-4
The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — Capable of the best as the worst, the Canadian has already played a meeting in the image of his season before leaving in vacation for a week.
Montreal squandered a lead of three goals, but Tomas Tatar was then played hero in the shootout and the Habs defeated the Golden Knights Vegas 5-4, Saturday night at the Bell Centre.
Tatar has completely taken down the trousers of the goalkeeper Marc-André Fleury during the fourth round of a shootout. Carey Price has then closed the debate by frustrating Reilly Smith.
Price went from hell to paradise in the space of a few minutes. He smashed his stick against the band having given up the tying goal, and then jumped for joy after having stopped the attempt from Smith.
“It shows that it is important for him to win the game,” noted the head coach of the Canadian, Claude Julien, speaking of the reactions of Price.
Nick Cousins has managed a double on the productions of Dale Weise, while Ilya Kovalchuk and Joel Armia have also hit the target for the Canadian (22-21-7). Price made 31 stops before the shooting.
“We’ve had a good first period. The second was more difficult, analysed Julien. I found that before the third and fourth goals, we coped well in the third period. We’re not sitting on our lead. We even scored another goal. It is only late in the game, that there are some small decisions that have been costly.”
Thanks to this victory, Julien now holds the exclusive rights to the 13th place in NHL history with 649 victories, one more than Ron Wilson.
Smith and Paul Stastny have amassed each a goal and an assist, while Max Pacioretty and Jonathan Marchessault have also moved the ropes for the Golden Knights (25-19-7), who were on their second sortie under the orders of their new head coach, Peter DeBoer. Shea Theodore has scored three helpers, and Fleury has rejected 28 shots in 65 minutes of play.
Cousins threw the ball with patience in front of Fleury at 5:51, and then Kovalchuk has delighted the spectators by digging away some seven minutes later. It was Kovalchuk’s fourth goal and eighth point in as many outings since his hiring by the Canadian.
Armia has widened the gap to 3-0 with 1:55 to make the first twenty, when a shot from the point by Brett Kulak is hit the stick of Theodore, and then Armia, before climbing between the pads of Fleury. It was Armia a 13th goal this season, which equals his best campaign in his career.
The Canadian had a first advance to 3-0 since 3 December, when he had put an end to his first sequence of eight reverse side of the campaign by coming to the end of the New York Islanders by a score of 4-3.
Not wishing probably not attract too soon the scorn of DeBoer, the Golden Knights have played with more composure in the second period and they found two times the back of the net.
Marchessault has first registered his 16th goal of the season at 9:08 thanks to a discount Reilly Smith from the back of the net. Stastny then helped pull the Golden Knights to a goal for the Habs at 14:47, taking advantage of a return to launch.
The Golden Knights continued to apply pressure in the third period, but Price made his finest save of the match when Armia was clumsily deflected a pass from Smith to his own goalkeeper.
A few moments later, Cousins has dealt a hard blow to the visitors by scoring her second goal of the game at 9:40, at the end of a two-on-one with Weise.
Price has kept the fort, frustrating particularly Nicolas Hague as Canada evolved in numerical inferiority. However, Pacioretty has given new life to the Golden Knights with 1:58 to do, after Fleury was replaced by an extra attacker. Smith then threw a cold shower on the spectators by diverting a throw from Stastny with 8.5 seconds to go.
Max Domi, and Ben Chiarot have tasted the medicine of Fleury in overtime, then Stastny has quickly left the ice after receiving a puck in the mouth.
The presentation of a shoot-out was finally needed.
The Canadian benefit now of seven days leave, before returning to the necklace with a workout next Sunday and face the Washington Capitals the next day. For his part, Shea Weber will be in St. Louis to participate in the all-star game, next weekend.
Echoes of locker room
Ilya Kovalchuk has scored a first goal at the Bell Centre in the uniform of the Canadian:
“On Saturday evening, the supporters want a show, they got it! (…) It was special to score a first goal in front of this crowd. The supporters of this city are incredible. I’ve never played in such an environment, and I appreciate it a lot.”
Tomas Tatar was happy to thwart his former team-mate Marc-André Fleury:
“He is an excellent keeper. I wanted to feint a shot and try a feint, in the hope that it bites the hook. I have been lucky that it works.”
Nick Cousins preferred to see the glass half full after the meeting:
“It looks like we don’t like to make life easy. (…) When you’re leading 4-2 with five minutes to go, you should close the books. They have managed two games and carried the mark to 4-4. This is not the end of the world because we have got the two points and we were playing against a team of the Association of the West.”