The Montreal Canadiens rallied back and put in their most complete effort offensively in game three. After blowing an early lead, the Habs came back in the 2nd period, managing to stay out of the box. Giving the Pittsburgh Penguins fewer opportunities, and giving Carey Price support. Those are the things that the Habs did successfully on their road to victory on Wednesday. They never let the Penguins set up in the 2nd and 3rd periods, and the defense was nearly flawless led by Jeff Petry. After the first period, the Habs woke up and played really well.
First Period Troubles
The game started off well for the Habs as they had good chances early. Matt Murray got tested right away with a fast start by the Canadiens and got the momentum on their side early. Captain Shea Weber opened the scoring in Game 3 with an amazing third effort to put it past Murray.
Mike Sullivan challenged the play for goaltender interference but the call was announced as a good goal. The Habs got the power play from the lost challenge but their trouble with the extra man continued. Then two back to back penalties resulted in two Penguins’ power-play goals, and by the end of the period they looked worn out, and all-around sloppy. Thankfully they had the intermission to try and change it up.
Restart in the Second
To start the second period the game wasn’t all that different from the first. Allowing a goal early wasn’t ideal for the Habs. That seemed to be a wake-up call it was almost like the Habs players remembered what they were playing for, and they woke up. Ben Chiarot hit a perfect pass to Jonathan Drouin who had the easiest goal of his life. Then you could feel the momentum shifting, as less than four minutes later Paul Byron fooled Matt Murray on a wrap-around which tied the game. The Habs played very well in the second and had momentum building their way going into the third.
Protect the Lead
The Canadiens took that momentum and started off quickly in the third and had great opportunities on the power play. Pressure on Murray eventually lead to the game-winning goal and was it ever a beauty.
Six minutes into the third, Chiarot played the puck down low to Jeff Petry who had all the time in the world to snipe it past Murray at a nearly impossible angle. Petry had scored the go-ahead goal but the Canadiens had 14 minutes to protect their lead. The Canadiens put endless pressure on and gave the Penguins nearly no time to get set up.
Price was on his game on Wednesday. The Canadiens held onto the lead and completed the comeback in game three with a 4-2 win to take a 2-1 lead in the qualifying series.
The biggest part of this game three win was the fact that Claude Julien finally shuffled the forward lines, and a potential look into the future in game three as Nick Suzuki played a few shifts on the top line as the Habs number one center, and alongside Brendan Gallagher and Tomas Tatar, he fit right in. Other changes Max Domi got a shift with Drouin and Kotkaniemi on the second line. You would think that’s the line-up that the Canadiens will roll with for Game 4 which takes place at 4:00 pm EST on Friday.