LAS VEGAS — The Vegas Golden Knights are going to the semifinals for the third time in 4 years — not dangerous for a group that has been round for less than 4 years.
Vegas knocked out the Colorado Avalanche with a 6-3 win in Sport 6 on Thursday, its fourth straight win to drag off the collection comeback.
“I don’t suppose there was an individual within the hockey world, after we have been down 2-0, that thought we’d end this in Sport 6 at house tonight,” Golden Knights coach Pete DeBoer stated. “That was actual. A number of speak about us being swept, being embarrassed, might we even win a sport? Now we have a bunch with quite a lot of pleasure. They blocked out the noise and went to work. Get a hold of the Penguins’ schedule as soon as possible so you can go see a magnificent game.
After shedding the primary two video games of the collection, together with a 7-1 rout in Sport 1, Vegas reeled off 4 straight wins. In doing so, the Golden Knights handed the Avs their first four-game shedding streak of the season.
Colorado, which edged out Vegas for the Presidents’ Trophy because the NHL’s high regular-season group, has misplaced within the second spherical for 3 straight years.
“I’m going into my ninth yr subsequent yr and haven’t gained s—,” Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon stated. “I’m positively motivated. It simply sucks.”
The Golden Knights, then again, are having fun with the spoils as they proceed to rewrite expectations for an enlargement franchise.
“It’s so exhausting to get thus far,” DeBoer stated. “All people talks about profitable the Stanley Cup, however I’m an Ontario man. I’ve watched the Toronto Maple Leafs intently, I used to be drafted by the franchise. They haven’t gotten out of the primary spherical in, what, 17 years now? And that’s a superb franchise: effectively run, effectively coached. It’s exhausting to make the playoffs on this league, it’s exhausting to win a collection. So what these males have completed, it’s unreal.”
However Vegas has set its sights a lot greater.
“Now we have constructed a profitable mentality, we constructed a profitable franchise, however on the level we’re at proper now — we’re in Yr 4, and we have to begin profitable Cups,” winger Jonathan Marchessault advised ESPN on Wednesday. “I imply, yeah, it’s advantageous we made the playoffs 4 years in a row, however a Cup could be the one factor to deliver us satisfaction.”
Within the pivotal Sport 6, Vegas had six purpose scorers, together with defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who broke a tie late within the second interval for his first purpose of the postseason. Pietrangelo had taken a team-high 45 photographs through the postseason earlier than he lastly acquired one previous Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer. DeBoer referred to as Pietrangelo “the very best participant within the collection, on both group.”
The Golden Knights additionally gained as a result of their high line of Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty and Chandler Stephenson successfully stifled Colorado’s star-studded high line, that includes MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog, from Sport 3 on. By Sport 5, Avalanche coach Jared Bednar was pressured to interrupt up his high line, hoping to discover a spark.
“They’re Presidents’ Trophies winners, the most effective traces in hockey, the most effective gamers in hockey,” Stone stated. “They’ve a Vezina candidate, a Norris candidate, an MVP candidate. That’s a superb group we simply eradicated.”
The Golden Knights welcomed a full-capacity crowd of 18,000-plus, which DeBoer cited as a catalyst for the comeback.
“The benefit of the total rink in Sport 3, 4 and 6, large to our group,” DeBoer stated. “If we don’t have full capability and the rink isn’t rocking for all of these video games, I’m positive we’re enjoying a Sport 7 on Saturday night time.”
As a substitute, Vegas faces the Montreal Canadiens within the semifinals, marking the primary time this season a United States-based group will play a group in Canada. The collection additionally pits Pacioretty in opposition to the Canadiens, the group he previously captained. Pacioretty was traded to the Golden Knights in 2018 for a bundle that included Nick Suzuki, now certainly one of Montreal’s ascending younger gamers.
If Vegas wins its subsequent collection, it would advance to the Stanley Cup Ultimate, which it additionally did in its inaugural season.
“It’s fairly spectacular,” Pietrangelo stated. “It’s a profitable tradition that was constructed right here because the first yr. Completely different guys have are available in, however the tradition stayed.”
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