So the Montreal Canadiens are going to be a formidable opponent for the Vegas Golden Knights after all, eh? After dropping Game One to the Golden Knights 4-1, the Canadiens stormed back in Game Two to even the series heading back to Montreal. We got ourselves a series on both ends of the Stanley Cup Semifinal bracket and I’m here for it.
• First thing is first…WHAT IS UP WITH JEFF PETRY’S EYES
Jeff Petry's eyes are legitimately bloodshot pic.twitter.com/lhB73LoJOT
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) June 17, 2021
• This is like something out of a zombie movie, right before the plucky, feel-good best friend character reveals that he was bitten by a zombie in the dramatic attack scene where they all narrowly escape. Then followed by the main character having to kill the best friend in the middle of their transformation into a full-on murderous zombie….anywho…
Per @SNkylebukauskas, Jeff Petry has a subconjunctival hemorrhage.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) June 17, 2021
• Apparently what was causing Petry’s zombie eyes is something called a subconjunctival hemorrhage and is totally normal and okay, I guess?
"His eyes have looked that for a week. It's kind of scary, but I don't think it affected him tonight." – Joel Edmundson on Jeff Petry.
— Arpon Basu (@ArponBasu) June 17, 2021
• Hey, whatever works for you. Petry returned to the Canadiens after missing Game One and he made an immediate impact, recording an assist in just over 20 minutes of ice time.
• Getting the Canadiens on the board first was a player that, if you’ve been paying attention to some recent posts on BN Blackhawks, you’re familiar with already.
Joel Armia strikes first! #StanleyCup
— NHL (@NHL) June 17, 2021
• Joel Armia scored his fifth goal of the postseason to give Montreal the early 1-0 lead. He’s a pending unrestricted free agent this summer and would look great in a Blackhawks uniform next season. But he’s getting into Bryan Bickell 2013 territory, where a stellar postseason, seemingly out of nowhere, prices him out of Chicago’s market. Possibly.
• After getting dominated in Game One, the Canadiens came out and played a nearly perfect first period against the Golden Knights, something they desperately needed. Two of their best playoff performers hooked up again in this postseason and gave Montreal the 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
Caufield ➡️ Toffoli = 🚨
— NHL on NBC Sports (@NHLonNBCSports) June 17, 2021
• The red-hot Cole Caufield set up the also red-hot Tyler Toffoli for Toffoli’s fifth goal of the postseason, extending his current point streak to a 2021 Stanley Cup Playoff-long eight games.
Tyler Toffoli scores to extend his point streak to eight games (5-5—10 in 8 GP), establishing the longest run by any player in the 2021 #StanleyCup Playoffs.#NHLStats: https://t.co/iXseI02bF0 pic.twitter.com/BjMTs1OQyj
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) June 17, 2021
• Put me down for Toffoli reaching nine games in Game Three.
• For the setup man Caufield, the rookie continues to have an instant impact on the Canadiens and continues to show that, despite his small stature, he’s ready to play a big role in the NHL.
Cole Caufield having 11 points in his first 21 games, when half of those games are in the playoffs, he’s averaging under 15 minutes a night all told, and he’s shooting just 8.5%, has to have you feeling pretty good about his prospects.
— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) June 17, 2021
• Four goals and an assist in 10 regular season games, one goal and five assists in 11 Stanley Cup Playoff games, including four points in his last four games for Montreal, I’d say Caufield is going to be a big deal in Canada.
Cole Caufield became just the second 20-year-old @CanadiensMTL player to post a playoff point streak of at least four games. The other: Shayne Corson (6 GP in 1987). #StanleyCup #NHLStats: https://t.co/iXseI02bF0 pic.twitter.com/nYJ8TfpEPc
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) June 17, 2021
• Caufield is not only getting his due recognition in the NHL, but is also being put on blast, in a good way, by a fellow former-Wisconsin Badger in J.J. Watt. Brandishing a “Caufield 22” Canadiens sweater ahead of the Stanley Cup Semifinal series, Watt is coming to the defense of Caufield against his previous detractors that he was going to be too small to be effective in the NHL. Hmm, sounds like someone I know on the Blackhawks too.
I chatted with JJ Watt about why he’s Cole Caufield’s biggest supporter.
”I've personally seen everybody try & criticize his size & what he's capable of & why he wasn't ready…but all he does is come in & score. So I think his size will be alright.” https://t.co/MwnamB4XFJ
— Emily Kaplan (@emilymkaplan) June 17, 2021
• Ok, putting my Badgers hat back down for a second.
• The Canadiens jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second period with a goal from Paul Byron that would be enough to hold on for the win. The Golden Knights fought back with two goals from Alex Pietrangelo late in the second and third periods, but the comeback effort would fall short.
• Carey Price stopped 29 of 31 shots for his ninth win of the postseason, the most he’s had in one postseason since the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Price now has a .930 save-percentage in these Stanley Cup Playoffs, second only to Andrei Vasilevskiy’s .933. He and Vasilevskiy, along with Marc-Andre Fleury all have nine wins in the postseason, tied for the most in the league.
• Like they did in Game Two, the Canadiens are going to have to be a team that starts fast the rest of the Stanley Cup Playoffs if they are going to have continued success against the Golden Knights and either the Tampa Bay Lightning or New York Islanders, if they move on to the Cup Final.
Montreal now 9-1 when scoring the 1st goal in the playoffs.
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) June 17, 2021
• Like I said, we got ourselves two great series’ ahead of us in the Stanley Cup Semifinals.
We've got four teams left standing in the exact same spot: The Canadiens, Golden Knights, Islanders and Lightning are each seven wins away from the Stanley Cup.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) June 17, 2021
• The Golden Knights travel to Montreal for Game Three on Friday night at the much more limited capacity Bell Centre for a 7:00 p.m. CT puck drop. Tonight we get Game Three between the Islanders and Lightning, with the defending Cup Champions heading into the Nassau Coliseum for a 7:00 p.m. CT puck drop.
• Elsewhere around the league, teams are one month away from needing to officially submit their protection lists for the upcoming Seattle Expansion Draft. Unlike with the Vegas expansion draft, the sense is that teams are going to be much more cautious when making side deals with the Kraken than they were with the Golden Knights, essentially helping Vegas create a perennial contender.
— Ryan S. Clark (@ryan_s_clark) June 17, 2021
• In The Athletic’s latest Seattle Expansion Mock Draft, Ryan S. Clark, Dom Luszczyszyn, and Eric Duhatschek take a stab at which players the Kraken will take in the July draft. They are not unanimous on the selection from the Chicago Blackhawks, but it wouldn’t be surprising if either of those three players were selected. Highly recommend checking out the full mock draft.
• Speaking of former (well, soon to be former) Blackhawks, newly retired Stephen Johns is continuing his #MentalMiles cross-country roller-blading trip. It appears that he will be heading through the Chicago area tomorrow after getting some rest in Notre Dame, Indiana, where Johns played four seasons with the Irish.
Day 3 ⬇️ Support system, support system, support system. I can’t stress how important it is. The support has been amazing. Little R&R day tomorrow at Notre Dame and then off to Chicago. pic.twitter.com/tJUOsHloj8
— Stephen Johns (@stjohns28) June 17, 2021
• Make sure to go support the former Blackhawk and IceHogs on his cross-country journey for Mental Health awareness!
• Another former Blackhawk being celebrated today, a Happy 22nd Birthday to 2017 first-round pick Henri Jokiharju!
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) June 17, 2021
• The Jokiharju for Nylander trade still gets on my nerves, almost weekly…ugh.
• Now I’m aggravated.
• That will do it for today, have a good Thursday!