After a tough two losses in Colorado had doubters ready to pen a series sweep for the Avalanche, the Vegas Golden Knights returned home and served up two victories of their own to even the series.
While game 1 was certainly one to quickly forget, game 2 was a battle that was simply won by the Avalanche netminder Phillip Grubauer standing on his head to give the Avalanche the commanding 2-0 series lead. Many could argue game 2’s loss is tougher pill to swallow in the postseason versus getting the doors blown off the barn. For the Golden Knights, they returned home where they only secured 2 victories in the first round against Minnesota desperately needing a spark.
Paging Jonathan Marchessault.
Marchessault would score the tying goal past the halfway mark of the third period in game 3 with Max Pacioretty netting the winner 45 seconds later to get the Golden Knights in the win column for the series. Game 4 would see Marchessault explode for his 2nd career postseason hat trick as they rolled the Avalanche 5-1 to even the series.
Game 4 was an impressive statement win on multiple fronts. The Golden Knights effectively shut down the offensive power of the Avalanche, particularly the top players on the team. While no easy feat, the Avalanche were held to just 14 shots through the first 2 periods and a paltry 4 in the final period of the game. As in game 3, Vegas found ways to stay out of the box surrendering only 2 powerplays to the Avalanche who were unable to score on either opportunity. The depth players are again making their mark as the 4th line closed any possible door of a comeback with the 5th goal in the game and both William Karlsson and Reilly Smith are finding themselves as regulars on the scoresheet. The speed and attack of the Avalanche was effectively neutralized throughout the night.
The task here on out is simple albeit the challenge looms large. Vegas needs to pull a win away from Denver then return home and shut the door. While daunting, Vegas has shown already this postseason that they can do the impossible by finally winning in regulation at Minnesota and had ironically played stronger on the road than at The Fortress prior to these two games. A win in game 5 could be the nail in the coffin for the Avalanche. If Vegas is able to shut down the top players again, and control the majority of the ice as they have in these wins as well as game 2 The Fortress should be rocking for the chance at a series close out.
6 wins down with 10 to go but only the next one matters. KNIGHT UP!Embed from Getty Images