The Vegas Golden Knights overcame a 0-2 game deficit to advance to the 2021 Stanley Cup Semifinals. Winning four consecutive games against a swift, tough opponent like the Avalanche showed everyone the character this team possesses. Some say that the Game 5 win where captain Mark Stone scored in overtime on the road was the pivotal turning point of the series. In Game 6, Alex Pietrangelo scored the winning goal with just eight seconds remaining in the second period. His teammates tallied three straight goals after that to ice the game in front of a boisterous sellout crowd at T-Mobile Arena.
Vegas Golden Knights Advance; Prove To Be Too Much for Colorado Avalanche
In this series, the Vegas Golden Knights, who tied the Avalanche for the best record in the NHL for 2020-21, showed they were the better team after all. They survived an opening-round series against the surprising Minnesota Wild after going up 3-1 and allowing the Wild back in the series by losing Games 5 and 6. They weren’t about to be forced into a deciding Game 7 this time. With some sparking goaltending from the ageless Marc-Andre Fleury and some timely scoring from a variety of players, Vegas prevailed.
One thing is certain, going forward these two teams seem to be bitter rivals. Each team fought and made adjustments as the series progressed. Vegas coach Peter DeBoer had some praise for Pietrangelo, “I thought he was the best player in the series, on either team. He was an absolute monster for us. Defensively, blocking shots, offensively, the goal tonight – that’s what we brought him here for, for this time of year, and those situations.”
Colorado Avalanche Face Tough Defeat
With such a powerhouse team, the first game of the series was a complete blowout with the Avs winning 7-1. They followed that up with an overtime victory in Game 2 with Mikko Rantanen getting the deciding goal. One thing they may have done is underestimate the determination and work ethic that the Vegas team displayed all season long. DeBoer yanked starting goalie Robin Lehner after Game 1 and replaced him with Fleury who was nothing short of magnificent. He had endless help in front of him in the final game as Vegas blocked an insane 34 shots headed his way. That kind of support goes a long way in the playoffs.
Another factor had to be holding off the very talented Nathan MacKinnon to just three assists after his Game 1 performance where he collected two goals and an assist. The Colorado club is very talented and doesn’t need to rely on only MacKinnon performing. Stopping him had to be a key to winning the series for Vegas. His frustration was in full bloom as he commented after the game. It was another exit from the playoffs, the team’s third consecutive elimination in the second round.
Nathan MacKinnon's Game 6 post-game press conference was something. "I'm going into my ninth year next year and haven't won sh*t" pic.twitter.com/0yBiQzxBpW
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) June 11, 2021
The Vegas Golden Knights vs Montreal Canadiens is Next
So, now we have two teams who have played really well in the playoffs facing each other in the next round. This should be a classic matchup. Montreal is on a roll after upsetting the favoured Toronto Maple Leafs in seven games. They finished that series off by winning three straight games and sweeping the Winnipeg Jets, so they are riding a seven-game winning streak at the most vital time of the season. The Vegas team is also on the rise winning four straight. So, something’s got to give as these two teams face each other in the next round.
Vegas will have home-ice advantage. And due to pandemic restrictions being lifted, pretty much, they will have a full house for each game going forward. Montreal did open up their fan attendance restrictions a bit but will have nowhere near the crowd that the Golden Knights will entertain. That could have some significance in the series. Most NHL teams have grown accustomed to playing without any fans in the stands for some time now until recently.
Vegas Golden Knights Performed Well
In the end, the Vegas club performed well and showed that ability to make adjustments and come back. The big question now will be can Carey Price outperform Marc-Andre Fleury? Or can the Golden Knights hold the Canadiens’ two young rising superstars in Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield? They had to deal with MacKinnon, but can they stop Tyler Toffoli who has four goals and six assists in 11 playoff games?
Of course, the Golden Knights want to get a second shot at holding the Cup after their first year of getting to the Finals and falling short. It won’t be easy, but nothing is in the NHL.