Video Credit: NHL

FSM Essential Recap: Golden Knights vs. Avalanche- 2nd Round – NHL Playoffs

Franchise Sports Media

Vegas Golden Knights (8-5) | Colorado Avalanche (6-4)

Game 6:

The Vegas Golden Knights took on the Colorado Avalanche with a chance to close out the series in game 6 on Thursday night in front of another packed house.


Colorado came into the game with a sense of desperation and scored the game’s first goal 23 seconds after the initial puck drop. The VGK defenseman had a breakdown in coverage which allowed Nathan Mackinnon to come in on a 2 on 1 and found Devon Toews who wristed a shot up and past Fleury. The Avalanche only held the lead for 52 seconds as Nick Holden received the puck at the blue line and beat Grubauer through his five-hole to tie the game up. It looked like the Avs goalie did not see the puck go to Holden and the defenseman did a great job of capitalizing on the confusion to get the equalizer quickly.

With 4:54 remaining William Karlsson gave VGK their first lead of the night after Alec Martinez executed a beautiful shot pass to find Karlsson in the right circle. Karlsson then proceeded to one time the puck to beat Grubauer to make the score 2-1. Vegas held the lead for the rest of the period despite being outshot 12-10.


The second period saw both teams combine for four goals as the Avalanche were determined to stay in the game in a do or die situation, but it was Vegas who would be in the lead after forty minutes.


Alex Pietrangelo took a delay of game penalty 2:23 into the period giving the Avalanche their first powerplay of the game. With 16:13 remaining Mikko Rantanen scored after receiving a pass from Mackinnon and shot it off of Zach Whitecloud’s skate to beat Fleury and tie the game 2-2. The next 12 minutes went by without any additional penalties or goals scored with a lot of action happening in the final four and a half minutes.

With 4:33 remaining Keegan Kolesar scored a tip-in goal after Alex Pietrangelo shot the puck and it deflected off the shaft of his stick and change directions to beat an unsuspecting Grubauer. Colorado answered back with 3:08 remaining to tie the game up with a goal by Andre Burakovsky. Pierre-Edward Bellemare lead Burakovksy who skated to the top of the circle and netted a wrist shot in stride to tie the game 3-3. With eighteen seconds remaining Alex Pietrangelo scored the eventual game-winner after Alex Tuch’s slap shot went off the boards and right to Pietrangelo who scored into an open net to give VGK a 4-3 lead heading into the third period.


The third period saw Vegas not only hold onto the lead but build upon it as well to close out game 6 and the series against Colorado.


William Carrier scored with 8:14 remaining after Shea Theodore fired a one-timer and Carrier got the third and final deflection in front of the net and put the Golden Knights up 5-3. Ryan Graves took a tripping penalty against William Karlsson less than a minute later but the VGK powerplay did not score as the last goal of the game would take place with 3:10 remaining. After Colorado pulled their goalie Max Pacioretty scored on the empty net and solidified the end of Colorado’s season as Vegas advanced to the semifinals to take on the Montreal Canadiens.


Looking Forward:


Vegas responded to going down 0-2 against the Avs by winning four straight games including one in Colorado to beat one of the best teams in the NHL. Vegas’ next opponent will be the Montreal Canadiens who just got done pulling off a sweep against the Winnipeg Jets and have been playing well above expectations this postseason. With Carey Price playing great and threats like Tyler Toffoli on the ice they should not be overlooked. Vegas has already put some miles on this postseason playing a seven-game series with Minnesota followed by a six-game series against Colorado but will have three days off as they will not play until Monday night. Vegas will have home-ice advantage for the rest of the playoffs as the Avalanche were the only team to have a better regular-season record. As made obvious by anyone who has been to a packed T-Mobile Arena it will be a huge advantage as even coach DeBoer noted that they would probably be playing a game seven without the overwhelming support of their fans on home ice.


The Vegas Golden Knights have advanced to the semifinals and will play the Montreal Canadiens Monday night at T-Mobile Arena. The puck drop is at 6:00 PM and will be on NBCSN and FOX Sports Las Vegas 98.9/1340.

Game 5:


After going down 0-2 to start the series, the VGK had rallied to tie the series up putting them in a position to take the series lead against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night.


Golden Knights vs Avalanche
Photo Credit: Vegas Golden Knights

The first period saw both teams play a structured and evenly fought opening twenty minutes as there were few stoppages and only one penalty called. The penalty was on Mikko Rantanen as he was called for goalie interference. VGK’s powerplay unit was held scoreless, though as Colorado did a good job of killing off the penalty.

The period’s lone goal came from Brandon Saad with just 1.8 seconds left and looked like a harmless shot at first. My assumption is that Marc Andre Fleury may have thought the time had already expired as he did not look prepared for the chance as he tried to reach across his far shoulder with his glove hand in an awkward attempt at a save. After letting in a deflating late goal, he would rebound to make numerous key saves for his team the rest of the way out.


The second period saw Colorado take over the pace of the game as they dominated the shot total and forced Fleury to work hard to keep VGK in the game.


One of the most dangerous opportunities for Colorado happened about five and a half minutes in as Tyson Jost came in on a partial breakaway, but Fleury was able to fight him off. After fighting hard all period to keep the game manageable, the Avs finally broke through for their second goal with 3:32 remaining. Alex Newhook possessed the puck down low and was able to find Jonas Donskoi in the right hash marks, where he sent the puck blocker side to beat Fleury and give his team a 2-0 lead heading into the second intermission.


The third period saw VGK inject some life back into their game and their hard work on the forecheck paid off early as they cut Colorado’s lead to 1 just over a minute into the period.


Golden Knights vs Avalanche
Photo Credit: NHL

With 18:57 left, Mattias Janmark stripped the puck from Andre Burakovsky and Nicolas Roy was able to recover it and find Alex Tuch driving to the net. The puck initially bounced off of Tuch’s stick and into the air, and in a show of great coordination, he was able to bat it past Grubauer, and just like that Vegas was back in the game.

At 4:07 into the period, William Karlsson gained possession of the puck after a pass from Gabriel Landeskog bounced off of Ryan Graves skates, and he found Jonathan Marchessault on the backdoor where he flipped the puck over Grubauer’s left pad. After being down for most of the game, Vegas continued to impress with being able to erase Colorado’s lead in the third period. It was a fight to force the game to overtime, though as Fleury came up with a handful of big-time saves, including some while the VGK were shorthanded. With 9:10 remaining, Shea Theodore was called for delay of game, but the shorthanded unit was up to the task for their first and only penalty kill.

As overtime began, Fleury was called upon early as he made saves on Gabriel Landeskog and J.T. Compher’s rebound attempt just 10 seconds into overtime. 40 seconds later, Mark Stone blocked a shot which allowed Max Pacioretty to recover it and find Stone breaking into the Colorado zone. VGK’s captain received the puck in stride and shot the puck over Grubauer’s glove to win the game and give his team a 3-2 lead before heading back to T-Mobile Arena for game 6 on Thursday night.


Looking Forward:


After being down 2-0, the VGK have been able to rattle off three wins in a row and take the series lead with a chance to clinch their second playoff series on home ice. Teams that win game 5 after a series was tied 2-2 are 215-58 all time which comes out to a .788 winning percentage in seven-game series. It was also Mark Stone’s first-ever overtime goal in an NHL playoff game, and he was noticeably excited, as seen by his goal celebration. VGK will look to ride the momentum of their huge road win as they take on the Avs on Thursday evening.


The Vegas Golden Knights will play game 6 of the second-round series against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday evening at T-Mobile Arena. The puck drop is at 6:00 PM and will be on NBCSN and FOX Sports Las Vegas 98.9/1340.


Game 4:


After rallying to win in the final six minutes of game 3, the Vegas Golden Knights went into Sunday night’s matchup looking to even up the series before heading back to Colorado for game 5.


Golden Knights vs Avalanche
Photo Credit: NHL

After withstanding an early onslaught by VGK, the Colorado Avalanche was the first team to score after what looked like a harmless dump in play. At the 1:50 mark, J.T. Compher gathered the puck by the right circle and fired a shot on net. While Fleury was able to make the initial save, he was unable to smother the puck, which allowed Brandon Saad to pick it up and wrist it into the open net. Roughly a minute later, Patrick Nemeth gave Vegas their first powerplay of the night after holding Patrick Brown, but it was not the powerplay unit that would tie the game up for VGK.

With 12:53 remaining in the period Reilly Smith intercepted an errant pass from Patrick Nemeth and appeared to fire a backhand shot into the net, but to the surprise of everybody, it wasn’t called as a goal since it hit the crossbar and out. However, in the ensuing scramble William Karlsson threw the puck on net, and Jonathan Marchessault got a piece of it with his stick and directed it into the net to tie the game up. Both teams proceeded to take a penalty each in the last two minutes, but the game went into the first intermission tied 1-1.


The second period was all Vegas as they scored the go-ahead goal which would become the game-winner and continued to pad their lead through forty minutes.


1:11 into the first period VGK entered the zone with a 3 on 2 look, and Mark Stone passed the puck over to Max Pacioretty on the left side of the rink who then sniped the puck past Philip Grubauer to give his team their first lead of the night. With 10:25 remaining, Andre Burakovsky was called for holding against Alex Tuch, and this time the Vegas powerplay would cash in. Jonathan Marchessault would have his first one-timer denied by Grubauer but after a give and go with Alex Pietrangelo, his second attempt found twine as he beat a sliding Grubauer for his second goal of the night. Vegas would finish out the period maintaining their two-goal lead and ahead in shots by a margin of 24-14.


The third period saw VGK finish out the game exactly how you would want them to as they continued to dominate and cushion their lead on the scoreboard.


Golden Knights vs Avalanche
Photo Credit: NHL

Vegas would kill off their last penalty of the night after Zach Whitecloud was called for delay of game after sending the puck over the glass 1:54 into the period, and there was no looking back from there. With 13:59 remaining Reilly Smith would find Marchessault swinging around to the far side of the net, where he was able to finish a wrist shot past an unexpecting Grubauer to score his third goal of the night. It marked the second time in this year’s playoffs that a VGK player has scored a hat trick.

With 6:47 remaining Patrick Brown received a pass from Ryan Reaves and fired it on net, and while it did not go in at first, he followed up and swatted it in as Grubauer’s momentum took himself into the goalmouth. After initially being ruled no goal on the ice, the NHL took a look at it, and it was determined that the puck did cross the goal line and was ruled as such. Colorado then challenged for goalie interference but lost and had to serve a two-minute minor for delay of game. Vegas didn’t score on the ensuing powerplay, but it did not matter as they held on to their commanding 5-1 lead to tie the series up 2-2 going into game 5.


Looking Forward:


After getting blown out in game 1, Vegas has responded excellently, turning in a winning performance in their last three games. Even though they came up short in game 2, their response has allowed them to get their confidence back and tie the series up in commanding fashion. The series will now be a best of three and will most likely be decided by which team can win a road game first.



The Vegas Golden Knights will play game 5 of the second-round series against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday evening at Ball Arena. The puck drop is at 6:00 PM and will be on NBCSN and FOX Sports Las Vegas 98.9/1340.      



Game 3: 


I was once again blessed to be able to attend game 3 of the second round series between the Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights which saw T-Mobile Arena host a full capacity crowd for the first time in well over a year. The energy in the building was almost overwhelming and emotions were high as VGK fans greeted old seatmates and chants of Go Knights Go sounded like rolling thunder with nearly 20,000 people screaming in unison.


The Vegas Golden Knights definitely fed off that energy as they dominated play in the first period outshooting the Avalanche by a margin of 14-3. Their control of the play on ice was undeniable as well, drawing two penalties from Colorado as fans shouted “Shame, Shame, Shame” at Gabriel Landeskog and Patrick Nemeth for each of their respective offenses. Unfortunately, VGK was unable to capitalize on those chances with the man advantage as they went into the first intermission scoreless despite outplaying their opponent.


The middle frame was more eventful in terms of scoring as both teams were finished settling in and scoring chances seemed to even out.


Photo Credit: NHL

Both teams were able to score within the first six and a half minutes before battling out the rest of the period without any additional goals being scored. VGK opened up the scoring 4:38 after the puck was dropped on a skillful play by forward William Karlsson. Reilly Smith was able to possess the puck in Colorado’s zone, pressuring Grubauer before dishing the puck back to the blueline where Alec Martinez received the puck and passed it to Alex Pietrangelo, who shot it on net. Grubauer was unable to control the rebound, and William Karlsson used his skate to kick the puck to his stick, where he backhanded it past the goaltender into a gaping net.

VGK fans were only able to celebrate for a minute and a half, though, as the Avalanche quickly answered with a goal of their own to tie the game up. With 13:53 remaining Pierre-Edouard Bellemare skated into Vegas’ zone with speed and fired a shot at Marc Andre Fleury who also could not control the rebound, which allowed Carl Soderberg to pounce on the puck and snap a wrist shot past a sprawling Fleury to tie the game up. At the 5:19 mark, Shea Theodore took a delay of game penalty, but VGK’s penalty kill unit and Fleury stood tall and kept the game tied 1-1 heading into the second intermission with Vegas leading the shot total 24-12.


The third period was as wild as it could get as the Avs scored the go-ahead goal early on and VGK had to make a late-game rally to get the tying and game-winning goals.


Golden Knights vs Avalanche
Photo Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Nicolas Roy took a hooking penalty against Kiefer Sherwood 4:56 into the first period giving the potent Colorado powerplay a chance to put their team ahead, and they did. Just eight seconds into the man advantage Cale Makar fanned on a pass from the blue line forcing Mikko Rantanen to go and get it, which he did as he slammed a one-timer that beat Fleury, thanks in part to a partial screen by Jonas Donskoi. For the next ten minutes, Colorado did a good job of shutting down VGK’s zone entries due to their excellent closing speed, but Vegas was eventually able to break through with a little over five minutes left in regulation.

With 5:18 remaining Reilly Smith found Jonathan Marchessault driving to the net where he received the puck and landed a dangerous shot on Philip Grubauer. But it was the follow-up chance that proved to be fruitful as Marchessault gathered his own rebound behind the net and was able to bank the puck in off of Grubauer’s back to tie the game up. Before the crowd was finished celebrating that goal, Vegas followed it up with another quick strike by Max Pacioretty to score the eventual game-winner. Just 1:15 later Mark Stone took the puck to the left circle before passing it back to Nick Holden, who one-timed the puck right towards Max Pacioretty as he was able to tip the puck in on net, changing the trajectory downwards to beat Grubauer. And just like that, VGK had the lead and were able to maintain it as time expired thanks to some outstanding save from Marc Andre Fleury that had the whole arena holding their breath before exclaiming victory.


Looking Forward:


Hockey is a weird sport in that I would argue Vegas probably played a better game in the second matchup compared to game three, but it was Friday’s matchup that saw them victorious. However, in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it does not matter what games a team deserves to win, but what games they do win. VGK is now only down 2-1 and has a chance to tie the series up today evening before heading back to Colorado for game five. If Vegas can combine their performance from game 2 with the timeliness of their goals from game 3, that is a possibility I can see happening. As game 4 will undoubtedly be sold out and just as lively as game 3, there will be plenty of motivation and support to give VGK that extra boost to tie the series up.


The Vegas Golden Knights will play game 4 of the second-round series against the Colorado Avalanche on this evening at T-Mobile Arena. The puck drop is at 5:30 PM and will be on NBCSN and FOX Sports Las Vegas 98.9/1340.      

Game 2:

The Vegas Golden Knights went into game 2 on Wednesday night looking to right all the wrongs from game 1 on Sunday.


Golden Knights vs Avalanche
Photo Credit: Jack Dempsey/AP

Colorado came out of the gates firing again as they moved through the neutral zone with ease and registered some dangerous chances early on. Brandon Saad was the first benefactor from the sustained pressure as he was sprung on a breakaway after Alex Pietrangelo was caught out of position. Saad actually flubbed on the shot, but it caught Marc Andre Fleury by surprise as you could tell he was expecting a harder shot as it slid through his five-hole.

The Avalanche looked like they might add to their lead as they received a powerplay a few minutes later after Nic Hague was called for holding against Valeri Nichuskin. The VGK penalty kill was able to survive thanks to some blocked shots and being able to get the puck out of the zone. Shortly after killing off the penalty, Vegas received a powerplay of their own and were able to tie the game up. Alec Martinez set up on the right side of the net, and Max Pacioretty was able to send him a great pass to set up his one-timer shot that beat Philip Grubauer.

Just as it was looking like VGK had grabbed the momentum back, they proceeded to take two penalties in a row, by Pacioretty and the other by Jonathan Marchessault. It was the second penalty that was costly as Tyson Jost received the puck on a set play catching Nic Roy out of position, and swiveled and fired the puck to beat Fleury. Forty-two seconds later, Shea Theodore took a delay of game penalty, which allowed the Avs to finish most of the period with a powerplay but were unable to score, thanks in big part to a goal-saving block by Pietrangelo.


The second period was more in line with how I had envisioned this series going as Vegas matched Colorado’s speed much more often and were able to battle back to tie the game.


Marc Andre Fleury looked like a Vezna trophy finalist in the opening minutes, making a huge save on a point-blank one-timer from Andrea Burakovsky to keep the game 2-1. With 9:32 remaining VGK was able to tie the game up with a goal from the Golden Misfits line. Jonathan Marchessault was able to find Reilly Smith breaking through the neutral zone sending him a perfect pass to spring him on a partial breakaway where he was able to go forehand-backhand before elevating the puck past Grubauer. Vegas received a powerplay with 6:55 remaining after Patrick Nemeth was called for slashing against Jonathan Marchessault but did not convert, and both teams went into the second intermission with the game tied 2-2.


The third period saw VGK take over the game, but they just could not get the game-winning goal in regulation thanks to that pesky post behind Philip Grubauer.


Golden Knights vs Avalanche
Photo Credit: NHL

The final frame began with an early breakaway attempt by Max Pacioretty, but Grubauer fought him off to keep the game tied. With 9:50 remaining, Colorado received another powerplay after Tuch was called for slashing against Nathan Mackinnon but it was Vegas who registered the most dangerous chance. Reilly Smith skated in for a great shorthanded chance but hit his third post of the night.

With 7:45 left, Grubauer came up with another masterful save on Alex Tuch, who had just came out of the penalty box. Both team’s goalies came up with numerous exciting saves throughout the remaining time, but it was the post that kept Vegas from ending the game in regulation. Devon Toews took a tripping penalty against Alex Pietrangelo with 3:21 left, and Vegas was given another chance with the man advantage. As was the theme with him all night, Reilly Smith hit yet another post, and time expired with the game still tied 2-2 and went into overtime.

Overtime started, and before a minute had passed Reilly Smith was the victim of a questionable slashing call against Mikko Rantanen and the VGK penalty kill unit was called upon once again. After some elite puck protection by Nathan Mackinnon, he found Mikko Rantanen wide open by the right circle and delivered a clean pass that enabled Rantanen to corral the puck and change his angle before firing a shot up and over Fleury left shoulder to win the game for Colorado.


Looking Forward:


It is a shame the game had to end on such a weak call, but that is the way it goes sometimes. VGK would do well to recreate their performance from tonight as one could argue that they deserved to win, but actually winning is the only thing that matters in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. On a positive note, Vegas looked like a completely different team tonight and get to return home to a full capacity crowd on Friday night. Friday’s game will be the first game three that the VGK has played while down 0-2 so expect them to play with some desperation and a chip on their shoulder.


The Vegas Golden Knights will play game 3 of the second-round series against the Colorado Avalanche on Friday evening at T-Mobile Arena. The puck drop is at 7 PM and will be on NBCSN and FOX Sports Las Vegas 98.9/1340.


Game 1:


The Vegas Golden Knights continued on their quest for a Stanley Cup on Sunday evening taking on the Colorado Avalanche for the first game of the second-round series.


Golden Knights vs Avalanche
Photo Credit: Michael Martin/NHLI

The game started with a tremendous pace as there was not a single stoppage in the first four minutes. Pete DeBoer’s decision to start Robin Lehner came under scrutiny early as Colorado scored the game’s first goal on a shot that definitely should have been stopped. With 15:05 left in the period, Mikko Rantanen entered the zone on a 3 on 2 and backhanded his shot up and past Lehner from a bad angle. It was a chance that should have been easily fought off and was the type of goal you might expect a goalie that has not played in seven games to let in.

Vegas received a powerplay a couple of minutes later after Brandon Saad was called for hi-sticking against Zach Whitecloud. While they were able to generate some good looks, they were unable to beat Phillip Grubauer. It was beginning to look like VGK was taking the momentum back, but Gabriel Landeskog swung the momentum back in his team’s favor. With 9:47 remaining, Vegas had a defensive breakdown which led to Landeskog receiving the puck on the left side of the net, where he shot it past a sprawling Robin Lehner. The period ended with Colorado leading the shot total 14-8 and a two-goal lead.


The second period was all Colorado Avalanche as they exploded for four goals and completely outclassed the VGK.


Golden Knights vs Avalanche
Photo Credit: Michael Martin/NHLI

Brandon Saad scored just 1:02 into the middle frame after picking up a loose puck and beating Robin Lehner on his blocker side, and the Avalanche never looked back as they continued to pour it on the rest of the period. Nathan Mackinnon scored his first goal of the night three minutes later after receiving the puck in the left circle and beating Lehner, shooting through his five-hole to put the Avs up 4-0. In addition to scoring a handful of goals. Colorado also brought physicality after Ryan Graves landed a huge hit on Mattias Janmark, which took him out of the game. The nature of the hit looked clean, but Graves was called for interference, and VGK was given their second powerplay of the night.

Vegas failed with the man advantage and gave Colorado two powerplays in a row, with both penalties being served by William Carrier for roughing against Cale Makar and Ryan Graves. With 5:37 remaining, Colorado’s powerplay scored after Mackinnon and Rantanen played tic tac toe and found Gabriel Landeskog in front of the net for an easy tip-in. Vegas was finally able to get on the scoresheet 36 seconds later with a goal by William Karlsson after Max Pacioretty found him all alone in front of the net, where he was able to tap the puck in. Just as Vegas seemed to find some life, Nathan Mackinnon made an exceptional play as he received the puck at the blue line and torched the Golden Knights defenders before beating Lehner up high on his glove side to widen his team’s lead to 6-1. Time expired with Colorado up big time in the score column and leading the shot total 27-17.


The third period saw the Vegas Golden Knight’s emotions boil over as they continued to take runs at Colorado players, namely Ryan Graves for his hit earlier in the game on Mattias Janmark.


Vegas’ breakdown came to a head with 11:56 remaining as Ryan Reaves took a match penalty for cross-checking Phillip Grubauer in the back of the head and going after Ryan Graves even after he had gone down to the ice. This sequence resulted in multiple penalties being assessed on the ice but ultimately led to Colorado receiving a nine-minute powerplay to finish off most of the game. The Avalanche only scored one goal with the extended man advantage after Cale Makar was fed by Tyson Jost and hammered the puck across the goal line. Time expired without any additional altercations, and the Colorado Avalanche took game 1 with a score of 7-1.


Looking Forward:


After a game like that, the only thing that can be done is to forget it and look forward to game 2. Between the decision to start Lehner, the multiple breakdowns in the defensive end, and being completely outclassed by an opponent, there is not much else to say. VGK has to focus on tightening up their game defensively and containing players like Nathan Mackinnon and Gabriel Landeskog while finding a way to generate consistent offense of their own as well. Vegas has their work cut out for them, but as they showed in the regular-season series, they are more than capable of rebounding after a bad game against the Avalanche and fixing their mistakes. Let’s hope that is the case when both teams resume play on Wednesday night.


The Vegas Golden Knights will play game 2 of the second-round series against the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday evening at Ball Arena. The puck drop is at 7 PM and will be on NBCSN and FOX Sports Las Vegas 98.9/1340.


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-D.J. Wood– Franchise Sports Media

Follow D.J. on Twitter @DJwoody97

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