Canadiens shock Golden Knights in Game 5 to take 3-2 series lead

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — Carey Price made 26 saves to lead Montreal to 4-1 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday night, putting the Canadiens one win away from the Stanley Cup Final.

The Canadiens lead Vegas 3-2 in the their best-of-seven series, with Game 6 scheduled for historic Bell Centre in Montreal on Thursday.

Montreal’s 11th playoff victory is the franchise’s most in one postseason since the Canadiens won the Cup in 1993, also the last time a Canadian-based team won the title.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Eric Staal, Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki scored for the Canadiens, who have made an NHL-record 34 Stanley Cup Final appearances.

Max Pacioretty scored for Vegas. Marc-Andre Fleury, the league’s active leader in playoff wins (90) and games played (162), made 22 stops in front of an announced crowd of 17,969 that were left stunned with the Golden Knights now on the brink of elimination.

Outside of Pacioretty’s third-period goal, the storyline remained the same with Vegas struggling to find its offense against Montreal’s suffocating tactics, in limiting space and dominating the neutral zone.

The Golden Knights, who have scored 11 goals in the series, have gotten just four from their forwards.

Montreal, meanwhile, had no trouble scoring with its forwards, who produced all four goals.

Kotkaniemi was the beneficiary of strong defensive play in Vegas’ offensive zone, as Montreal defensemen Jeff Petry and Jon Merrill create a turnover to push the puck in transition. At the other end, it was Josh Anderson streaking past Vegas defenseman Zach Whitecloud and pulling Fleury to his far right with a backhand that was stuffed. But the rebound floated to the left, where Kotkaniemi beat Vegas blueliner Nick Holden and backhanded the puck into a wide-open net to give Montreal a 1-0 lead.

Suzuki, who was dealt to Montreal in the trade that sent Pacioretty to Vegas, set the Canadiens up for a two-goal lead in the second period with a perfectly timed backcheck on Jonathan Marchessault to the right of Price. At the other end, Suzuki’s patience paid off, as he waited until the precise moment to feed Staal between the hashmarks for a wrist shot that beat Fleury top shelf.

With the confidence level headed in opposite directions by the midway point of the second period, and the Canadiens feeding off momentum on a power play, another Vegas turnover ended up in transition with Corey Perry darting in on a would-be breakaway before shuffling the puck cross-ice to Caufield, who one-timed a snap shot up top to extend Montreal’s lead to 3-0.

Pacioretty got Vegas on the board after he whiffed on an initial shot near the top of the circle, then followed up with a wrist shot over Price’s blocker to cut the deficit to two, at 3-1.

It was all the Golden Knights would get, as Price stopped the final nine shots he saw, and Suzuki - who never got to suit up for one regular-season game with the Golden Knights - made an empty-net goal to provide the final margin

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Canadiens shock Golden Knights in Game 5 to take 3-2 series lead
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