Last week on the Knightly Recap, the Vegas Golden Knights finished off their first round series against the Minnesota Wild in seven games.
This week on the Knightly Recap, the Golden Knights advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs to face the Colorado Avalanche. It’s a quick turnaround for the Golden Knights as they come off their game seven victory against the Wild. The Golden Knights and Avalanche also played their first three games of this series this week.
With that said, welcome to week 21 of the Knightly Recap.
Game 1: May 30 at Colorado Avalanche
Tonight’s Forecast: A Heavy Avalanche
It’s the first game of this highly anticipated series between the league’s top two teams. But this game was one-sided after the second period of this game. The Avalanche were the quicker team which isn’t a surprise since they had a week off after sweeping their first round series matchup against the St. Louis Blues.
The Avalanche were able to score four goals during the second period which gave them a five goal lead heading into the third. They had scored twice after the first period which was still in reach for the Golden Knights to stay in the game.
We Got Your Back
During the second period, Golden Knights forward Mattias Janmark left the game after getting hit on the head by Avalanche defenseman Ryan Graves. From that point on, the Golden Knights were on a mission to target Graves for the hit on Janmark.
And it wasn’t just Graves. They would target anyone that stood in their way and that stands true when it comes to Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves.
During the third period, Reaves was standing in the low slot when he realized that Graves was also there with him. Reaves was then thrown out of the game and assessed a match penalty along with two minor penalties. This all added up to a nine minute penalty kill for the Golden Knights.
The Avalanche responded with a power play goal with just over 1:30 left on the power play from defenseman Cale Makar.
Final score: 7-1 COL
Goal scorers: COL – Mikko Rantanen (4:55 1st Period, 14:23 2nd Period), Gabriel Landeskog (10:13 1st Period), Brandon Saad (1:04 2nd Period), Nathan MacKinnon (4:03 2nd Period, 17:05 2nd Period), Cale Makar (15:49 3rd Period)
VGK – William Karlsson (14:59 2nd Period)
Series: 1-0 COL
Game 2: June 1 at Colorado Avalanche
Now It’s a Series
The Golden Knights came out with better energy after their 7-1 loss in game 1 despite giving up an early goal in the first period. From there, it was a back and forth goal scoring affair between the two heavyweight teams.
Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez scored on a power play followed by Avalanche forward Tyson Jost just under eight minutes after Martinez’s goal on an Avalanche power play. Forward Reilly Smith of the Golden Knights scored the only goal in the second period to tie the game at two.
WARRIOR-IOR-IOR 🚨 pic.twitter.com/YvA3OVwKMW
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) June 3, 2021
Not So Friendly Posts in Colorado
After Smith’s game tying goal, the Golden Knights were able to beat Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer but not the goal post during the third period. The Golden Knights hit the posts five different times throughout the period which could’ve given them a decisive win to tie the series.
A Controversial Call Leading to a Overtime Game Winner
Game 2 went into overtime after an entertaining third period between both teams. In the early stages of overtime, Smith was called for a slashing penalty which was questionable by many after a second look.
The slashing penalty led to a power play overtime game winning goal for the Avalanche. Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen scored the game winning goal in overtime to give the team a commanding 2-0 lead against the Golden Knights.
Final score: 3-2 COL
Goal scorers: COL – Brandon Saad (3:39 1st Period), Tyson Jost (17:08 1st Period), Mikko Rantanen (2:07 OT)
VGK – Alec Martinez (9:32 1st Period), Reilly Smith (10:28 2nd Period)
Series: 2-0 COL
Game 3: June 4 vs. Colorado Avalanche
Another Close Game
If this series wasn’t entertaining already, game 3 definitely was the defining moment for the Golden Knights. Already down 2-0, the Golden Knights had a good showing in game 2 despite losing in overtime. They felt they had all the momentum going towards them heading into game 3 based off their bounce back performance last game.
What gave the Golden Knights an advantage in this game was the amount of shots on goal in all three periods. The Golden Knights dominated the first and third periods with the second being the closest. Overall, Vegas outshot Colorado 43-20.
The Comeback Kings Are Still Here
Don’t let the header be misleading. The Golden Knights were the first to score in this game from forward William Karlsson in the second period. However, Avalanche forward Carl Soderberg scored 1:29 after Karlsson’s goal to tie the game. Also, Rantanen scored on yet another power play to give the Avalanche a 2-1 lead during the third period.
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) June 5, 2021
But, just as the Golden Knights have done in the regular season, the Golden Knights make another comeback after giving up a 1-0 lead. Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault tied the game at the 14:42 mark of the third period, banking the puck off of Grubauer’s glove hand. 45 seconds later, Golden Knights forward Max Pacioretty scored the go ahead goal deflecting the puck into the net from a shot from defenseman Nick Holden.
THIS PLACE IS BANANALANDS pic.twitter.com/SGDAd4473v
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) June 5, 2021
Why Have an Avalanche When Vegas Has Fleury
After Pacioretty’s goal, the Avalanche made a push during the last five minutes of the third period. Not only was the Golden Knights defense tremendous in shutting down their top players but Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made crucial saves.
Fleury continues to show out in the postseason this year reading and seeing the puck in tight situations. One of Fleury’s best saves of the game came in the third period against Rantanen. Rantanen was wide open but Fleury was able to make a pad save with 44.1 seconds left.
Fleury, along with the Golden Knights heavy pressure defense in the last five minutes of the game, handed the Avalanche their first postseason loss this year.
Final score: 3-2 VGK
Goal scorers: COL – Carl Soderberg (6:07 2nd Period), Mikko Rantanen (5:04 2nd Period)
VGK – William Karlsson (4:38 2nd Period), Jonathan Marchessault (14:42 3rd Period), Max Pacioretty (15:27 3rd Period)
Series: 2-1 COL
Up Next on the Knightly Recap
The Golden Knights and Avalanche will play games 4 and 5 this week with potentially games 6 and 7. Games 4 and 5 will be the most important games for the Golden Knights as they could be down 3-1 or tie the series 2-2 after game 4. Also, they could take a 3-2 series lead after game 5.
There wouldn’t be a dull moment in this series with all the potential scenarios that can be played out. The rest of this series will be interesting to say at the very least. Until then, stay tuned for the next Knightly Recap.