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Price makes 29 saves, Canadiens beat Golden Knights 3-2

Carey Price made 29 saves and the Montreal Canadiens beat the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2 on Wednesday night to tie the Stanley Cup semifinal series at a game apiece.

Price improved to 9-4 in the playoffs, his most victories in a postseason. He had eight in 2014.

Paul Byron, Joel Armia and Tyler Toffoli scored for Montreal, with Bryon making it 3-0 with 2:45 left in the second period.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) deflects a shot by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez (23) during the second period in Game 2 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series, Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP PhotoDavid Becker)

Alex Pietrangelo scored twice for Vegas, and Marc-Andre Fleury made 20 saves.

Game 3 is Friday night in Montreal.

Montreal has now won 21 straight playoff games when scoring three or more goals.

Abandoning the rugged approach they took in Game 1, the Canadiens looked more like the team that reeled off seven straight wins in the first and second rounds, dominating in all three zones in the first 20 minutes.

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Erik Gustafsson, left, and center Eric Staal (21) congratulate right wing Joel Armia, center, after his goal during the first period in Game 2 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series against the Vegas Golden Knights, Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP PhotoJohn Locher)

With Vegas missing top-line center Chandler Stephenson, and third-line center Nick Roy skating in his place, Montreal had the advantage in shots-on-goal (12-4), shot attempts (24-13), scoring chances (14-4), and high-danger chances (8-1).

Armia got the scoring going after he crunched Vegas defenseman Alec Martinez into the end boards behind Fleury, allowing Corey Perry to gather the puck and feed Joel Edmundson in the right circle. Edmundson fired a shot that deflected back to Armia, who one-timed it past Fleury’s right skate.

Jeff Petry made his presence felt in his first game back after missing Montreal’s last two. He played give-and-go with Cole Caufield, who opted to pass across the slot rather than fire on net and found Toffoli, who one-timed a snapper through Fleury’s five-hole to not only push the Canadiens’ lead to 2-0 but extend Montreal’s first-period scoring edge in the playoffs to 12-3.

Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez (23) lunges for the puck next to Montreal Canadiens left wing Artturi Lehkonen (62) during the second period in Game 2 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series, Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP PhotoJohn Locher)

Vegas continued to be its own worst enemy in the second period, as Max Pacioretty clanked a breakaway shot off the bottom of the right post. Then during a power play, Alec Martinez broke his stick while teeing off on a shot to Price’s left, and moments later it was Pacioretty whiffing on a shot at the doorstep.

Vegas was finally able to solve Price when Pietrangelo held the puck at the blueline long enough to find a right lane to the net, bringing the deficit back down to two goals late in the second.

Vegas cut the lead to one with a little more than five minutes left in the game when William Karlsson won a faceoff to the right of Price, Jonathan Marchessault gathered the puck and fed Pietrangelo, whose wrist shot from the circle gave him his second goal of the night.

Montreal Canadiens right wing Paul Byron (41) shoots the puck past Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (29) during the second period in Game 2 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series, Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP PhotoDavid Becker)

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Players try separating Vegas Golden Knights right wing Ryan Reaves (75), Montreal Canadiens defenseman Joel Edmundson (44) and Canadiens right wing Joel Armia (40) during the second period in Game 2 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series, Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP PhotoDavid Becker)

Montreal Canadiens right wing Paul Byron, right, celebrates after scoring on Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (29) during the second period in Game 2 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series, Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP PhotoDavid Becker)

Vegas Golden Knights right wing Ryan Reaves (75) and Montreal Canadiens center Eric Staal (21) get involved in a scuffle during the second period in Game 2 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series, Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP PhotoDavid Becker)

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (29) blocks a shot by Montreal Canadiens center Nick Suzuki (14) during the third period in Game 2 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series, Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP PhotoJohn Locher)

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, far right, is greeted by teammates after the Canadiens defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2 in Game 2 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series, Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP PhotoDavid Becker)