Las Vegas–Tonight the scene was set for the Vegas Golden Knights as they made history at clinching their first ever Stanley Cup Playoff berth with a 4-1 win.
With these two teams having squared off against one another this past weekend at Pepsi Center, the finale for the Golden Knights fans was something that was worth the wait all season as a crowd of 18,326 at T-Mobile Arena witnessed history.
In the opening period of the game, both Marc-André Fleury and Seymon Varlamov kept the contest scoreless in the first at they made 19 saves combined.
The middle period of the contest however was where the flood gates opened in scoring department.
Vegas was on the power play and at the 4:14 of the 2nd period, Alex Tuch would be one that broke the ice. The initial shot on the man advantage came off of William Karlsson’s stick but the opportunistic Tuch at the door step pumped it home for his 14th of the season.
This gave the Golden Knights to 1-0 lead over Colorado.
Things are starting off right. pic.twitter.com/oiMBlPI2Yo
— NHL (@NHL) March 27, 2018
With 6:19 remaining in the 2nd period, the Avalanche would get the equalizer goal from Erik Johnson as he would net his 9th goal of the season off of a rebound shot that was created by Blake Comeau early on in the scoring play.
Less than a minute later, the Golden Knights were on another man advantage and coming up huge was Jonathan Marchessault.
Marchessault who scored in Denver over the weekend added another tonight as he connected with Shea Theodore for his 25th of the campaign when he went short side on Varlamov for a 2-1 Vegas lead.
— NHL (@NHL) March 27, 2018
In the third period, the Golden Knights would add some distance between them and the Avalanche as it would be Theodore joining the scoring this time for Vegas.
Theodore took an Erik Haula pass in the hit slot and fired one upstairs glove side on Varlamov for the 3-1 insurance lead at the 1:31 mark of the frame.
This gave Theodore his 5th goal of the campaign with the Golden Knights.
SHEA THEODORE GOES TOP SHELF AND VEGAS LEADS BY 2! pic.twitter.com/GHvv3BvI3L
— NHL Daily 365 (@NHLDaily365) March 27, 2018
16 seconds left in the game with the Avalanche net empty, Marchessault had the puck on his stick and dished it out to William Karlsson who tallies his 40th goal of the season on a breakaway and sealed the deal for the Golden Knights with the 4-1 victory and their first ever berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Vegas improved to 48-21-7 this season with points 102 and 103 and added some insurance with a 6 point lead over Pacific Division rival the San Jose Sharks who are currently on an 8 game winning streak.
Fleury earned his 10th career win over the Colorado Avalanche with his 28 save performance and improved to 28-11-4 on the season with the Golden Knights.
With clinching their first ever playoff appearance in year one in club history, the Golden Knights join some pretty good company of North American franchises before them in the 1925-26 Pittsburgh Pirates, 1979-80 Hartford Whalers and Edmonton Oilers.
Not only was the moment a special one for the city of Las Vegas and Golden Knights with the first ever trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the 4-1 victory gave Head Coach Gerard Gallant his 200th win behind the bench.
Reaction From Golden Knights Head Coach Gerard Gallant
Gallant was very complimentary tonight after the 4-1 win with members of the media with the Golden Knights clinching their first ever playoff berth.
“Early in the year, a lot of nights I would go home and think, ‘What’s going on here? We’re winning every single night.’ Now, I come to the rink and expect our team to play well and win. We’ve got a good group.” Gallant said to reporters at T-Mobile Arena.
With the way that the Golden Knights took advantage of the Expansion Draft process with the assets from the their inaugural campaign led them to this moment tonight.
“It always starts from the top and goes right down through the organization” Says Gallant on the Golden Knights successful first year in the NHL.
“They did a great job in the expansion draft starting us off and our players came out every night and battled. That’s why we’re in the position we are.” Gallant continued.
3 Stars Of The Game
Vegas Golden Knights: Jonathan Marchessault (1 goal and 2 assists)
Vegas Golden Knights: William Karlsson (1 goal and 2 assists)
Vegas Golden Knights: Shea Theodore (1 goal and 1 assist)
Honorable Mention: Vegas Golden Knights Marc-André Fleury (28 saves)
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