In their Cinderella run to the 2021 Stanley Cup Final, the Canadiens have overcome a lot. After a stunning 3-2 OT win in Game 4, add “Lightning getting a four-minute power play that extended from regulation to overtime” to that list of accomplishments. The Canadiens avoided a sweep at the hands of the Lightning, winning Game 4 3-2 in OT.
The Canadiens avoided a sweep in a back-and-forth Game 4 thanks in large part to the work of Josh Anderson — and a poised penalty kill. The speedy-but-sizeable winger scored the first goal of Game 4, and then added the OT winner. The Canadiens live to see another day as the 2021 Stanley Cup Final shifts to Tampa Bay for Game 5 on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBC / Peacock).
[NBC 2021 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]
Anderson’s OT goal was really something. He created some chaos entering the zone, Cole Caufield took a shot that created a rebound, and then Anderson ended Game 4 with his OT-winner:
Josh Anderson has been clutch for Montreal. As you may recall, he scored twice against the Golden Knights in Game 3, including an overtime-winner.
Canadiens stay alive after Game 4 despite tough start and finish
Despite the threat of a sweep, the Canadiens meandered through the beginning of Game 4 vs. the Lightning. It took Montreal about 12 minutes to even register a shot on goal.
Because hockey is a strange beast, the Canadiens ended up scoring the first goal of Game 4. To be fair, it was a really nice play, as Nick Suzuki made a tremendous play to set up a wide-open Josh Anderson.
Carey Price began Game 4 with razor-sharp play. By making it 1-0 in Game 4, the Canadiens gained their first lead of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final vs. the Lightning. (Tampa Bay and Montreal both had a knack for gaining 1-0 leads. Heading into Game 4, the Lightning are now 0-5 in these playoffs when they failed to score the first goal.)
After the Lightning carried much of the early play in Game 4, the Canadiens turned the tide once they went up 1-0.
Tampa Bay was outshooting Montreal 11-1. Then the Canadiens scored. Since? Montreal has outshot Tampa Bay 12-4.
— Nick Cotsonika (@cotsonika) July 6, 2021
Consider the second period something of a mirror image, then. The Canadiens picked up their play, while the Lightning were the ones who actually scored. Ryan McDonagh made that goal happen. First, he created a turnover with an alert play. McDonagh then created a rebound before he set the puck to a wide-open Barclay Goodrow to make it 1-1.
Back-and-forth third period
Heading into the third period, it wasn’t clear if the Lightning or Canadiens had an advantage. The twists and turns would only continue.
Amidst an increasingly physical Game 4, a Canadiens adjustment paid off when Alexander Romanov scored the 2-1 goal. (Jake Evans, another Game 4 addition, set up Romanov for that goal.)
That lead would only stand for five minutes, as the Lightning continue to pounce on Canadiens mistakes. For the 2-2 goal, Mathieu Joseph connected with Pat Maroon for a stunning tally. Maroon got behind Brett Kulak for that goal, so not every Montreal adjustment paid off handsomely.
Speaking of stunning, the third period of Game 4 ended with some serious drama. With about a minute left, Shea Weber caught Ondrej Palat with a high stick. There was no denying the potential for a double-minor, as Palat began bleeding almost immediately.
The Canadiens penalty kill stopped the bleeding, though, and Montreal ended up winning Game 4 in OT.
CANADIENS VS. LIGHTNING (TB leads series 3-1)
Game 1: Lightning 5, Canadiens 1
Game 2: Lightning 3, Canadiens 1
Game 3: Lightning 6, Canadiens 3
Game 4: Canadiens 3, Lightning 2 (OT)
Game 5: Wed. July 7: Canadiens at Lightning, 8 p.m. ET (NBC / Peacock)
*Game 6: Fri. July 9: Lightning at Canadiens, 8 p.m. ET (NBC / Peacock)
*Game 7: Sun. July 11: Canadiens at Lightning, 7 p.m. ET (NBC / Peacock)
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.