It was a gag for two games.
It started with game 3 and then again in game 5.
I promise Golden Knights players won’t read my tweets (that I know of), but someone got the memo.
because once mikko rantanen’s goal in game 2 overtime hit the wire, the big name players who define this 4-year organization did what they were paid for. And it’s thanks to those big names that the Golden Knights posted four straight wins and defeated the Presidential Trophy-winning Colorado Avalanche in six games, culminating in a 6-3 win in Game 6 at T-Mobile Arena on Thursday. /p >
vegas will play against the montreal canadiens in the semifinals of the stanley cup. game 1 is monday.
“I don’t think there was a person in the hockey world, when we were down 2-0, who could have predicted that we would finish this in six at home tonight,” Las Vegas coach Pete Deboer said. “There was a lot more talk about us being swept, embarrassed and could we even win a game? we have a group with a lot of pride and they just blocked out the noise and got to work. what a night.”
Call me one of those who didn’t believe such a thing was possible. It’s not because Vegas wasn’t up to the avalanche; the teams split all eight meetings in the regular season and the golden knights even won twice on the ball field.
narrative, as has been said many times, is fickle. Said narrative was that this would be the year the Avalanche broke through with the conglomerate of star power at its disposal. This was Nathan Mackinnon’s moment to take his place as the best player in the world; The hockey gods would smile at the appearance of Cale Makar; philipp grubauer is playing at a vezina caliber level, he will do what needs to be done.
the golden knights outscored the avalanche 167-126 from game 2 in all situations; he outscored them in high-danger chances 40-25 in games 3-5, and had 59 percent of expected goals in the series in 5-on-5 combined. Vegas’s top line held the Mackinnon line to a combined three points in Games 3-5 and gave the Avalanche their only four-game losing streak this season.
as in life, the narrative is never absolute. the golden knights not only proved that they could compete with the rush of great power; they dominated colorado. Of course, two games were decided by one goal and one went to extra time. but as the series progressed, the golden knights found themselves not only on an equal footing with the avalanche, they were crushing them under their boot.
and it all came from those who make a lot of money:
- jonathan marchessault, from his game-tying goal in game 3 to his hat-trick 48 hours later, showed why he’s still valuable.
- max pacioretty, who has a point in every game since returning from injury in game 7 against minnesota, is proving his worth.
- Alex Pietrangelo, whom Pete Deboer called the best player in this series, scored the game-winning goal in Game 6 and is proving why every bit of that $61.6 million contract is worth it.
- Marc-Andre Fleury, who has rescued this team time and time again in what is shaping up to be another trophy season, made big saves when it mattered.
- mark stone, whose only shot on goal in game 5 was the overtime winner that put the golden knights within arm’s reach, showed why he is the first captain of this team.
that’s just the cliff notes version. Alex Tuch, who was mostly quiet in this series, scores the goal in Game 5 to fuel that comeback. William Karlsson had a point in all but one game. Alec Martinez blocked a game-high nine shots and set up Karlsson for the go-ahead goal in the first period of Game 6.
In a series that was based on Las Vegas stars playing like this, the Golden Knights got some help from their depth on Thursday. two goals from the fourth row (keegan kolesar, william carrier), two goals from defenders (nick holden, pietrangelo) a goal in the top six (karlsson) and an empty net (pacioretty) were the accounts of tonight.
“We have a lot of guys who accept their roles. It’s good to see them being rewarded,” Stone said. “Those guys have been soldiers for us all year. for those guys to show up… we’ve had so many guys come in and out of the lineup throughout this series and that’s what it takes to beat a team like that.”
Not much has changed from this Golden Knights lineup to the one that reached the Western Conference finals last season. the staff, for the most part, is the same as the group that couldn’t solve thatcher demko and anton khudobin. no need to worry about that for now; the golden knights averaged 4.25 goals in these four consecutive wins.
the golden knights are in the final four for the third time in four years. they are now four wins away from getting another shot where they were three wins away from four years ago.
This time, the power of the stars is ready to make the final push.
“It’s very difficult to get to this point,” Deboer said. “everyone talks about winning the stanley cup…this is tough. it’s hard to win a series, it’s hard to make the playoffs in this league. what these men here have achieved is unreal.”