Game 4 was brutal!
We had 'em. Montreal had Las Vegas right where we wanted – by their necks, ready to squeeze, up 1-0, with 9 mins remaining.
Our beloved Canadiens were just minutes from going up 3-1 in the series and potentially shocking the entire hockey world by upsetting the mighty Golden Knights. Had they held on, Montreal would have been just one win away from advancing to the Stanley Cup finals.
Then, disaster struck.
The Golden Knights put up only six shots-on-goal in the third period. But they somehow scored the frame's lone goal when Brayden McNabb beat Carey Price, which eventually sent the game into overtime. Then, the final curtain didn't take long to fall on the Habs.
Quebec native Nicolas Roy kept the Golden Knights from falling into a 3-1 hole when he scored just 78 seconds into the extra period. Now all of the sudden, Las Vegas holds the advantage in what's become a best-two-of-three series since they host Game 5 and (if necessary) Game 7.
Oh Montreal, we feel your pain (especially since we touted the Canadiens to win the semi-finals series at +420!).
Here's a look at the odds on tonight's Game 5 which begins at 6 pm PST:
The big news heading into Game 5 is – who will start in goal for the Golden Knights?
Peter DeBoer was asked if the Golden Knights will make Robin Lehner the starter over Marc-Andre Fleury, since he played an outstanding game on Sunday. DeBoer told the media that Fleury was not benched for his mistake in Game 3, but rather due to the need for rest. Early reports from game day are that DeBoer will go with Lehner again in Game 5.
According to analysis at VegasInsider.com:
Bringing the series back home will be good for Vegas. The Golden Knights have been unable to do much with their forwards against the Canadiens, but they should benefit from having the last change on Tuesday.
Montreal has been using Phillip Danault, Brendan Gallagher, and Artturi Lehkonen to put the clamps on Vegas’ forwards. Danault has been particularly effective in a defensive role, and the Canadiens have given him more ice time than any other forward. He has just two assists this postseason, but his play is a big part of why Montreal keeps frustrating opposing teams.
DeBoer will want to have his best goal scorers on the ice as much as possible when Montreal’s best defensive forwards are on the bench. That could finally unlock Mark Stone, Jonathan Marchessault, and Max Pacioretty. None of the three have goals in this series, and they have combined for just three assists through four games against the Canadiens.
In the regular season, Stone, Pacioretty and Marchessault led the Golden Knights in points. They had been solid through Vegas’ first two series, but they have been thrown off-track by Montreal. If they can get going in Game 5, they can put Montreal in a real bind as this team can’t win a high-scoring game.
Nick Suzuki has notched an assist in each of the last two games for Montreal. The only player with more points than Suzuki is Tyler Toffoli, and he has just a goal and an assist in this series. Montreal doesn’t need many goals to win with the indomitable Carey Price between the pipes, but they have to get at least three goals to like their chances.
This is a very tough game to predict as to what will happen juxtaposed with the odds. Sure, Las Vegas deserves to be a decisive favourite. But should they be laying more than 2 to 1? As for Montreal, we have to fear that brutal loss in Game 4 and the emotional letdown will carryover here. It would be a stunning statement for the Canadiens to lose a game like that, go on the road, and then pull off an upset win in what's become the most important game of the season for both teams.
We'll pass on picking a side or betting the total and enjoy this game as fans.
Prediction: Typically, we post our forecast and final score here. But one golden rule of sports gambling is never let your heart get in the way of your head. Don't let emotion affect a wager.