Golden Knights' Smith: Power-play woes 'costing us the series'

Ethan Miller / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The Vegas Golden Knights understand that their ineptitude with the man advantage is the primary reason they trail their Stanley Cup semifinal series 2-1 to the Montreal Canadiens.

"There are a lot of problems (on the power play), I don't think you can just pinpoint one," said Golden Knights forward Reilly Smith after Montreal defeated Vegas 3-2 in overtime Friday.

"(Our) breakouts have been bad. We're not doing a good job handling pressure. We're not releasing the puck very well, and we're not doing a good job crashing the net and picking up rebounds. So, there are a lot of things we have to get better at, and it's costing us the series right now."

Vegas went 0-for-4 on the power play in Game 3 and lost - largely thanks to Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury's late gaffe - despite dominating the Canadiens at five-on-five.

The Pacific Division club outshot their North Division counterparts 45-27 in the game. Vegas also outplayed Montreal in terms of scoring chances for percentage (59.18 to 40.82) and expected goals for percentage (53.88 to 46.12) at five-on-five, according to Natural Stat Trick.

"Our five-on-five play was excellent tonight," said forward Mark Stone. "We controlled the majority of the game and had tons of scoring chances, but in a game like this, your power play needs to step up for you.

"The last two games, our power play has had to step up, and we haven't even gotten us any momentum. ... It's about time as a group we take a little bit more pride in playing on the power play. (We need to) take that five-on-five mindset to the power play."

Vegas has a league-low 10.5% success rate with the man advantage in this postseason, scoring just four times in 38 opportunities. Over the last 30 years, no team has won the Stanley Cup with a rate under 11%, and no champion has ever had the lowest percentage of any club in the playoffs, according to The Athletic's Jesse Granger.

Game 4 is scheduled for Sunday in Montreal at 8 p.m. ET.

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Golden Knights' Smith: Power-play woes 'costing us the series'
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