Anderson, Canadiens push Stanley Cup final back to Tampa for Game 5

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The Stanley Cup final is heading back to Florida for a Game 5.

Josh Anderson scored his second goal of the game in overtime as the Montreal Canadiens beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 on Monday to stave off elimination and cut their deficit in the NHL's title series to 3-1.

With Hall of Famers Yvon Cournoyer, Guy LaFleur and Patrick Roy looking on from a private suite at the Bell Centre, Carey Price had his strongest game of the series for the Habs with 32 saves. Defenceman Alexander Romanov also scored — his first playoff goal in his third career post-season game.

Barclay Goodrow and Pat Maroon found the back of the net for the defending Cup winners, while Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 18 shots for the Bolts.

Game 5 of the best-of-seven matchup is set for Wednesday in Tampa. Game 6, if necessary, would be back in Montreal on Friday.

"We understood the hole that we were in, but we just kind of talked about it: Find a way to win one game here," Habs forward Brendan Gallagher said. "(Anderson) stepped up and scored a couple of big goals for us.

"It's going to be the same thing next game."

A tropical storm warning was issued Monday for Tampa and surrounding counties with Elsa churning through Cuba and toward Florida. It's not likely to affect Game 5 on Wednesday night, although a Major League Baseball game between Cleveland and the Tampa Bay Rays, originally scheduled for Tuesday, was postponed due to the storm.

The Lightning are attempting to become the NHL's second team to win consecutive championships in the salary-cap era, which began in 2005. The Pittsburgh Penguins accomplished the feat with titles in 2016 and '17.

In NHL playoff history, only four teams have rallied to win a series after losing the first three games, with the Toronto Maple Leafs the only one to do so in the final in beating the Detroit Red Wings to win the Cup in 1942.

The Los Angeles Kings were the last team to overcome a 3-0 series deficit by beating the San Jose Sharks in a 2014 first-round series. The 1975 New York Islanders and 2010 Philadelphia Flyers also accomplished the feat.

Maroon is looking to become a three-peat champion. He signed with the St. Louis Blues in the summer of 2018 to play in front of young son Anthony and try to bring the Stanley Cup back to his hometown.

After accomplishing that in 2019, he signed with the Lightning and helped them hoist the Cup in 2020. One more Lightning win and Maroon becomes just the fourth player in NHL history and the first since 1964 to win the Stanley Cup three seasons in a row with two different teams.

Ed Litzenberger was the last to accomplish such a feat, with Chicago in 1961 and then Toronto from 1962-64.

"It’s a great achievement," Maroon said Monday morning. "It would be an amazing accomplishment, that's for sure. .... It's exciting, though, to be talked about like that."

The Canadiens are the latest team to attempt to end Canada's 28-year Stanley Cup drought. Montreal was the last Canadian team to hoist the iconic trophy when they won their 24th Cup back in 1993.

Until this year, Montreal had not made the Cup final since their last title. Vancouver (twice), Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa advanced the final series over that time, but were unable to bring the Cup back north of the border.

The Stanley Cup final was making its debut at the Bell Centre. The Habs still called the old Montreal Forum home when they won the Cup in '93.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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