Golden Knights late rally turn tables on Avalanche

Jun 4, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Vegas Golden Knights left wing Max Pacioretty (67) engages the crowd after being named first star of the game after the Golden Knights defeated the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 in game three of the second round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Jonathan Marchessault and Max Pacioretty scored 45 seconds apart late in the third period to rally the Vegas Golden Knights to a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche in the second round of the West Division playoffs on Friday night in Las Vegas.

Marc-Andre Fleury made 18 saves and William Karlsson also scored a goal for Vegas, which still trails the best-of-seven series, 2-1. Game 4 is Sunday night, also in Las Vegas.

Golden Knights late rally leads to win

Marchessault tied it, 2-2, with 5:18 to go when he banked in his own rebound from behind the goal line off Grubauer’s leg and into the net for his 17th career playoff goal.

Pacioretty then made it 3-2 when he redirected Nick Holden’s shot from the left point under Grubauer for his second goal of the playoffs and the game-winner.

“You know you get that first goal you just have a feeling the next one’s going to come,” Pacioretty said. “So that floater comes in from [Holden], you just have a little bit more confidence that you’re going to tip it, and that’s how it played out.”

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golden knights avalanche
Jun 4, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Vegas Golden Knights players celebrate around Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (29) after defeating the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 in game three of the second round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Mikko Rantanen and Carl Soderberg scored goals for Colorado, which had its six-game postseason winning streak snapped. Rantanen, who scored the overtime winner in Game 2, extended his playoff point streak to 17 games. Only five players in NHL history have recorded a longer point streak that spanned multiple playoff years.

Philipp Grubauer finished with 40 saves and had a 10-game postseason win streak snapped.

Vegas, playing before its first sellout crowd at T-Mobile Arena since March 2020, came out strong as expected in the first period, outshooting the Avalanche, 14-3, and finishing with a 12-2 edge in scoring chances but couldn’t get a shot past Grubauer.

Avalanche and Golden Knights a series again

The Golden Knights finally broke through at the 4:38 mark of the second period when Karlsson backhanded in a rebound of an Alex Pietrangelo shot to give Vegas its first lead of the series. It was the third goal of the playoffs for Karlsson.

But Colorado tied it just 89 seconds later on Soderberg’s first goal since rejoining the Avalanche from the Chicago Blackhawks at the trade deadline. The score came when Pierre-Edouard Bellemare fired a slap shot from the left circle that bounced off Fleury’s glove to the right side of the net, where Soderberg slapped in the rebound inside the right post.

The Avalanche then took a 2-1 lead early in the third period on a power-play goal by Rantanen eight seconds after Nicolas Roy was called for a hooking penalty.

Rantanen took a pass from Cale Makar in the high slot and then slapped a shot past a screen by Joonas Donskoi and Fleury’s glove side for Colorado’s fifth power play goal of the series.

“We knew they were going to come in the last 10 minutes, and that’s what they did,” Rantanen said. “I think just a couple mistakes we made, and that’s going to cost you against a good team like Vegas. There’s no moment you can fall asleep. [Grubauer] played amazing again, but we can’t rely on him making 50 saves every night.”

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–Field Level Media