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Tag: Carey Price

Will Vegas Solve Montreal’s Stingy Defense

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s possible in Game 1 the Golden Knights defeated a Canadiens team that didn’t play to their full identity. Clearly, Vegas executed theirs by pressuring Montreal resulting in four goals scored against goaltender Carey Price. However, things were different in Game 2 and likely for the remainder of the Semifinals series.

Everybody who was supposed to be who they are identity wise for the Montreal Canadiens played to their role. And it got Vegas uncomfortable. Where Vegas hasn’t been uncomfortable before. -Aaron Ward, Former defenseman and TSN analyst

Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry was absent for Game 1 but his presence on Wednesday allowed the Original Six franchise to clean up their endzone coverage and move the puck effectively. In their second matchup, the Canadiens pushed Vegas shooters wider than they had in Game 1. The Golden Knights had only eight low-quality attempts on net as opposed to 11 in Game 2.

This postseason with Petry in the lineup the Canadiens allow 2.20 goals per game and given up 3.00 without him.

My best asset is my legs my skating ability. Just focusing on that and closing quickly. -Jeff Petry, MTL defenseman

Tonight, Vegas will need to find ways to utilize the traffic in front of Montreal’s net. 13 of the 32 goals the Canadiens have allowed in the playoffs were from defenseman, including five in six periods from Golden Knights blueliners. Alex Pietrangelo’s goal in Game 2 was a great example how to get around Montreal’s stingy defense. The former Cup winner patiently waited for a screen to develop and slipped a shot through Petry’s legs and past Price. There’s not much an elite goaltender can do when he can’t see the puck.

The Golden Knights have scored on mobile defenseman this postseason but neither of their prior opponents were as big as the Canadiens defensive unit. To combat that, Vegas can match with their own size to jam, screen, and stuff in front of the goaltender. And of course taking advantage of rebounds, loose pucks, and all the grease that occurs in the playoffs.

Since their Game 6 loss against Minnesota, Vegas has responded well after a playoff loss. There’s no reason to believe they won’t tonight for Game 3 in Montreal. Sure, with a full deck the Canadiens will be more difficult to break through but Vegas has the creativity, size, and skill to neutralize any club’s defense. Price can’t bail his teammates out the entire series.

How The Golden Knights Can Score On Carey Price And The Montreal Canadiens

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights enter Round 3 of the playoffs as a sizeable favorite. That’s because they seem to have the advantage on paper at pretty much every position on the rosters. However, even as good as Marc-Andre Fleury has been, beating Carey Price is always going to be tricky.

That certainly doesn’t mean it can’t be done though. In 11 playoff games this season, he’s allowed 22 goals on 337 shots. That’s good for an impressive .935 save percentage to go along with his 1.97 goals against average. Excellent numbers, but 22 goals nonetheless.

I went back and studied all 22 goals that got past Price to see if I could spot any common threads. Not just in beating Price himself, but also in places where the Golden Knights can exploit Montreal’s defense.

Of the 22 allowed, I qualified just six as stoppable shots by Price. It’s important to note that I’m being fairly lenient in favor of Price, marking any shot that was tipped, deflected, through traffic, or into an open net based on a rebound or cross-ice pass as “unstoppable.” This doesn’t mean a goalie like Price can’t stop them, or that he won’t moving forward, it instead means that they are goals created that scored on the defense as opposed to beating the goalie. These are goals that a goalie is not expected to stop, and the unstoppable shots accounted for 73% of the goals scored against Price in the series.

Let’s start with the six that he did have a chance to stop. Three of them are pucks that are picked up by players standing in the circles. Two are from passes from the high-slot to a defenseman walking in (the same defenseman both times in the same game actually), and the other is a pass from under the goal. On all three, the player released a hard wrist shot that beats Price. All three scored are shot short side on Price and all three he looks up to the sky like he can’t believe he missed them. I’d be hard-pressed to say we can expect one of those in this series, but three in 11 games makes me think it’s possible. Looking at Max Pacioretty, Alex Tuch, Alex Pietrangelo, or Shea Theodore as the most likely options to do it.

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