Jeff Petry was the surprising hero for the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night when his goal at the 13:57 mark of overtime lifted his team to a stunning 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 of their qualifying round series.
If the Canadiens are going to pull off this upset, it is going to be because of games like this.
A great performance from Carey Price in net (check), a little bit of puck luck (check), and some young players stepping up in big moments (check again).
[NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]
Here is a look at Petry’s goal that won it.
Jeff Petry wins it in overtime for @CanadiensMTL! #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/NUvXaWb8Es
— #StanleyCup Qualifiers on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) August 2, 2020
A few other takeaways from the Canadiens’ win:
Two of Montreal’s best young players made huge impacts
While Price did his part to keep the Canadiens in it early and continued to make huge saves all night, a couple of young cornerstone players made big contributions of their own.
Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Nick Suzuki both scored goals in the win, while Suzuki in particular had an impressive game.
His goal in the second period gave the Canadiens a 2-0 lead and was an absolutely beautiful, pinpoint snipe off the rush. He also played an outstanding two-way game and made an impact all over the ice. They are two of Montreal’s youngest players and getting efforts like that in their first postseason game has to make Canadiens’ fans happy.
Missed opportunities for the Penguins
If the Penguins end up losing this series they are going to have nightmares about this game because they had no shortage of opportunities to win it.
At the center of those missed opportunities was a dreadful power play performance that saw them convert on just one of their seven opportunities. They failed to score on an extended 5-on-3 early in the third period with the game tied, looked even worse on their next power play that period, then failed on an opportunity in overtime.
As if all of that was not enough, Conor Sheary missed the net on a penalty shot with just over three minutes to play in regulation.
Vintage Carey Price
Everyone knew coming into this series that the Canadiens’ best chance was a huge performance from Price.
The concern with that is that over the past couple of years he has not always been the dominant goalie that he was during his prime.
He is, however, still very capable of being that goalie in stretches. He showed that on Saturday by stopping 39 of 41 shots in the win. He was at his best in the first 10 minutes when the Penguins stormed out of the gate and carried the play. Price’s ability to slam the door and keep Pittsburgh off the scoreboard helped set the tone for the rest of the game.
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.