With an overtime win over the Colorado Avalanche, the Vegas Golden Knights have clinched the top seed in the Western Conference.
The Vegas Golden Knights and the Colorado Avalanche battled it out for the number one seed in the Western Conference. Robin Lehner got the start for the Knights after playing well in the first round-robin game against the Dallas Stars.
Both teams traded chances at the beginning of the game and we could tell both teams were eager to win. Less than five minutes into the game, Vegas would take the first penalty when Brendan McNabb was called for tripping.
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The Golden Knights were able to kill off the penalty and we were back to a back and forth game with lots of speed coming from both ends. The Knights got a powerplay of their own when Joonas Donskoi was sent to the box for interference.
Colorado was able to follow suit and not let the Golden Knights score on the man advantage. Again, both teams were trading grade-A chances, but both goalies were making incredible saves. With two minutes left in the period, McNabb got sent to the box again, this time for interference.
Things got worse for the Golden Knights, as not even 20 seconds later, Nicholas Roy was called for hooking giving the Avalanche a 5 on 3 power play. The best chance Colorado got on the powerplay was when Lehner stoned a slap shot from Mikko Rantanen. The first period would end goalless and Colorado was outshooting Vegas 10-5.
In the second period, things didn’t get off to a good start for the Colorado Avalanche as Nathan MacKinnon was called for unsportsmanlike conduct. Vegas went back on the power play and it didn’t take long for the Knights to get on the board, as a minute into the penalty, Jonathan Marchessault would tip a Shea Theodore shot past Philip Grubauer for the first goal of the game and a 1-0 lead.
After that goal, the Avalanche showed some pushback and were starting to dominate play looking for the equalizer. Vegas got into penalty trouble once again when Ryan Reaves was called for roughing and the Avalanche had another chance to tie the game on the man advantage. They did just that when Mackinnon put a loose puck past Lehner after a mad scramble in front of the net.
Three minutes later, the Knights got penalized again when Marchessault was sent to the penalty box for tripping. Vegas managed to kill the penalty and added to their lead, as Reaves found a loose puck at the side of the net and manage to get it past Grubauer for a 2-1 lead.
It didn’t take long for Colorado to respond as two minutes later, Joonas Donskoi managed to find the puck and put in a rebound past Lehner to tie the game at 2. The period would end with both teams knotted at two.
Just like the second period, the third period had an early penalty called in the first 30 seconds of the period. Nate Schmidt was called for high sticking. The Knights managed to keep the Avalanche from scoring on the power play. A couple of minutes later, Marchessault was given a penalty shot and he converted to give Vegas a 3-2 lead. A couple plays later Matt Calvert and Tomas Nosek got involved in a scrum in front of their bench both got called for roughing.
That led to some four-on-four action that got even more interesting when MacKinnon got sent to the box for interference, which gave Vegas a 4 on 3 advantage. Nothing came out of it, and with two minutes left in the game, the Avalanche pulled their goalie for the extra attacker.
The move worked as with 1:02 on the clock, J.T. Compher found a rebound as Lehner as swimming in the crease and managed to put it in the back of the net. The period ended once again with both teams level at three.
The game shifted to overtime which was crazy and frantic for most of the period. It was back and forth action with a lot of scoring chances but both goaltenders were standing strong. Vegas finally got the breakthrough as Alex Tuch with 15 seconds left on the clock went on a 2 on 1 and beat Grubauer for the 4-3 win.
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That win confirmed Vegas would finish the round-robin with a perfect record of 3-0 and will face the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. On the other side, the Colorado Avalanche will face the Arizona Coyotes.