The Montreal Canadiens celebrate a goal by Jesperi Kotkaniemi, second left, during the first period Tuesday night at Las Vegas. David Becker/Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — Carey Price made 26 saves to lead Montreal to 4-1 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday night, putting the Canadiens one win away from the Stanley Cup final.

The Canadiens lead Vegas 3-2 in the their best-of-seven series, with Game 6 scheduled for Montreal on Thursday.

Montreal’s 11th playoff victory is the franchise’s most in one postseason since the Canadiens won the Cup in 1993, also the last time a Canadian-based team won the title.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Eric Staal, Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki scored for the Canadiens, who have made an NHL-record 34 Stanley Cup final appearances.

Max Pacioretty scored for Vegas. Marc-Andre Fleury, the league’s active leader in playoff wins (90) and games played (162), made 22 stops in front of an announced crowd of 17,969 that were left stunned with the Golden Knights now on the brink of elimination.

NOTES

RANGERS: Gerard Gallant is taking over a young team with potential as coach of the New York Rangers, just like his three previous stops.

Unlike Columbus, Florida and expansion Vegas, Gallant will be expected to win quickly, if not right away. The 57-year-old is embracing those high expectations in a big market, even if he insists he will handle this situation the same as his previous jobs.

“It’s a team that’s ready to take off, go to the next level and I’ll prepare the same way,” Gallant said Tuesday. “I feel very comfortable about what happened in the past, in the past six years with Florida and in Vegas and I’ll bring that forward to the New York Rangers and get to know their players, get to know their personnel. I think that’s really important, and I think that’s one of my strong points.”

Gallant was a target for new president and general manager Chris Drury because he was won pretty much everywhere. He won the Memorial Cup in 2011 as the top Canadian junior team, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League titles in 2011 and 2012, and most recently coached Canada to the gold medal at the world championships after an 0-3 start.

Gallant’s best coaching job came in 2017-18 with Vegas, when the Golden Knights reached the Stanley Cup Final in their first season with a roster built out of an expansion draft. That earned him the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year.

After a first-round playoff exit in 2019 and some struggles the next season, Gallant was fired. It was even less time than his three seasons with the Panthers and one full season and parts of two others with the Blue Jackets.

“I still have a hard time going back and looking at it and saying, ‘Why did I get fired?’” Gallant said of Florida and Vegas, in particular. “I think I did a great job in both of those organizations. Things happen. It’s out of my hands.”

TOM KURVERS, a former player and Minnesota Wild assistant general manager, died Monday after a battle with lung cancer, the team and University of Minnesota-Duluth said. He was 58.

Kurvers served as Minnesota’s assistant general manager since 2018. Minnesota Duluth athletics spokesman Brian Nystrom said the hockey program there was informed of Kurvers’ death by Kurvers’ family. The Wild said Kurvers died at his home Monday morning.

Kurvers won the Hobey Baker Award as the top college player at Minnesota Duluth in 1984. He played 11 NHL seasons from 1984-1995 with the Canadiens, Sabres, Devils, Maple Leafs, Canucks, Islanders and Mighty Ducks before going into management.

RENE ROBERT, a member of the Buffalo Sabres’ famed “French Connection Line,” died Tuesday at a Florida hospital less than a week after suffering a heart attack. He was 72.

Robert had been on life support since being hospitalized in Port Charlotte, Florida, in the middle of last week.

Acquired by the Sabres in a trade that sent Eddie Shack to Pittsburgh in 1972, Robert went on to round out one of the most productive lines in NHL history. Robert played right wing alongside left wing Rick Martin and Hockey Hall of Fame center Gilbert Perreault on a line that earned its nickname because all three players were from Quebec.

Robert was from Trois-Rivieres, about a 90-minute drive east of Montreal.

Robert scored a career-high 40 goals twice during his seven-plus seasons in Buffalo. He was traded to the then-Colorado Rockies in 1979 and closed his career with Toronto in 1981-82.

In 524 games with Buffalo, Robert had 222 goals and 552 points. Overall, he finished with 284 goals and 702 points in 744 NHL games.

ISLANDERS: The NHL’s Department of Player Safety assessed a $5,000 fine to Mathew Barzal, the maximum allowed under the collective bargaining agreement, as a result of the cross-check he made on Lightning defenseman Jan Rutta in Game 5 of the semifinals Monday night. He will not face a suspension for the hit to the head.

Barzal was assessed a five-minute major and game misconduct at the end of the second period. Rutta never returned.

AWARDS: Lou Lamoriello of the New York Islanders has won the Jim Gregory general manager of the year award for the second straight year.

The league announced Lamoriello finished ahead of fellow finalists Marc Bergevin of the Montreal Canadiens and Bill Zito of the Florida Panthers. Colorado’s Joe Sakic was fourth and Vegas’ Kelly McCrimmon fifth in voting by GMs, league executives and media members after the second round of the playoffs.


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