Vegas defensemen provide offense in Game 1

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Sometimes your top forwards aren’t the heroes in the playoffs, though it helps when you have an elite goaltender enjoying one of the best stretches of his career. In the battle between Marc-Andre Fleury and Carey Price, Fleury decisively took Game 1 of the Vegas-Montreal semifinals series last night. Price had some great moments, but Fleury put in the better overall performance in a 4-1 victory.

Vegas did well offensively too, but its offense came from unconventional sources. The Golden Knights’ top three forwards during the regular season – Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, and Jonathan Marchessault – were all successfully silenced by the Canadiens in Game 1. William Karlsson, meanwhile, was limited to an assist. Vegas got by thanks to a trio of goals from their defensemen.

Montreal entered this series as the heavy underdogs, but a team that had shown that they shouldn’t be underestimated. The Canadiens can shutdown opposition forwards and match up against strong teams and they showed that again last night even if the final result wasn’t what they wanted. Vegas took Game 1, but this series is far from decided.

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VEGAS 4 MONTREAL 1 (Golden Knights lead series 1-0)

Alec Martinez scored the game-winning goal. It was the blueliner’s third goal and fifth point in 14 playoff games.

Shea Theodore found the back of the net and registered an assist for the Golden Knights. That gives him a goal and eight points in 14 postseason games.

Mattias Janmark was the only Vegas forward with a goal. He’s done really well during the Golden Knights’ playoff run with four goals and eight points in 11 contests.

Reilly Smith assisted on two of Vegas’ four goals. He’s up to two goals and nine points in 14 playoff games.

Marc-Andre Fleury saved 28 of 29 Canadiens shots. He has a 9-4 record, 1.84 GAA, and .927 save percentage in 13 playoff starts.

At the other end of the ice, Carey Price stopped 26 of 30 shots. He allowed at least a goal in each period and was beaten twice on 13 shots in the second frame.

Montreal’s lone goal was scored by Cole Caufield. It was his first goal and fifth point in 10 playoff contests.

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