Marc-Andre Fleury made 30 saves and Alex Pietrangelo and Max Pacioretty each had a goal and an assist as the Vegas Golden Knights clinched their West Division second-round playoff series with a 6-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche in Game 6 on Thursday night in Las Vegas.
Nick Holden, William Karlsson, Keegan Kolesar and William Carrier also scored goals and Shea Theodore added two assists as Vegas closed out the best-of-seven series.
The Golden Knights will play the North Division’s Montreal Canadiens in the NHL semifinals, with Game 1 scheduled for Monday in Las Vegas.
It was the 89th career playoff victory for Fleury, moving him past Billy Smith and Ed Belfour into sole possession of fourth place on the all-time postseason wins list.
Devon Toews, Mikko Rantanen and Andre Burakovsky scored goals and Nathan MacKinnon added two assists for the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Avalanche, who ended the season with their first four-game losing streak of the season. Philipp Grubauer finished with 17 saves.
Colorado won its final five regular-season games and its first six playoff games before Vegas got hot over the past week.
The Avalanche needed just 23 seconds to grab a 1-0 lead. Toews took a crossing pass from MacKinnon on a two-on-one following a Theodore turnover and fired a shot from the left circle past Fleury’s glove side.
Vegas came back to tie it just 52 seconds later on Holden’s first goal of the playoffs, a shot from the left point that went through Grubauer’s pads.
The Golden Knights took a 2-1 lead at 15:06 of the opening period when Karlsson one-timed a crossing pass from Alec Martinez from the right faceoff dot just between Grubauer’s skate and the near post for his fourth goal of the playoffs.
Colorado tied it 2-2 early in the second period on a power-play goal by Rantanen, his fifth tally of the playoffs. But Vegas regained the lead at the 14:27 mark of the period when Kolesar deflected Pietrangelo’s wrist shot from the right point past Grubauer’s glove side.
The teams then traded goals before the end of the period.
Colorado tied it on Burakovsky’s first goal of the playoffs on a wrist shot from the right circle around Martinez and off the left post and in at 16:52.
Pietrangelo answered with 18 seconds left in the period with his first goal of the playoffs. The rebound of an Alex Tuch shot caromed off the dasher boards to a wide-open Pietrangelo by the right side of the net.
Carrier gave Vegas a two-goal lead at 11:46 of the third period, sweeping in a rebound of a Theodore point shot for his first goal of the playoffs.
Colorado pulled Grubauer for an extra attacker with 3:25 remaining, and Pacioretty sealed the win with an empty-net goal 15 seconds later.
–Field Level Media