Golden Knights cruise past Canadiens in game one of NHL semi-finals

·2 min read
Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (right) makes a save during game one of the NHL semi-final playoff series

Alec Martinez scored the eventual winner and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 28 shots as the Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4-1 in the opening game of their NHL semi-final playoff series.

Shea Theodore finished with a goal and an assist, while Mattias Janmark and Nick Holden also scored goals, and Reilly Smith added two assists for the Knights in front of a crowd of 17,800 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

"The first goal was huge, and at the right time too in the first period for us with how we were playing," Vegas coach Peter DeBoer said. "Gave us a little bit of an opportunity to take a deep breath and kind of gather ourselves and find our game. Thankfully (Fleury) was our best player, gave us a chance to get our legs, and then I really liked our game in the second and third."

The Knights won their fifth straight playoff game but more importantly they set the early tone in the best-of-seven series between the NHL's most storied franchise and the new kids on the block. Vegas is competing in their third final four in just four seasons of existence.

Martinez made it 2-0 at 2:18 of the second period on a one-timer from the right face-off circle. Theodore faked a shot from the slot, bringing Price out of the crease, before passing to the defenceman for his third goal.

Cole Caufield scored for Montreal, who saw their seven-game playoff winning streak snapped. Goaltender Carey Price, who has started all 11 postseason games, finished with 26 saves.

The Canadiens are seeking their 25th Stanley Cup title in franchise history. No one has more.

Fleury was once again one of the best players on the ice, the Montreal native recording his 90th career playoff victory, moving within two of Grant Fuhr for third place on the all-time playoff wins list. Patrick Roy is first, with 151 wins.

Vegas eliminated Colorado in six games in the second round of the West Division playoffs.

Montreal, who finished the regular season fourth in the North Division, roared back from a 3-1 deficit to stun top-seeded Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round.

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the two clubs have not played since January 18, 2020, when the Canadiens defeated the Golden Knights 5-4.

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