With the victory, the Golden Knights have advanced to the third round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, where they will play the Montreal Canadiens.
For Colorado and Hart Trophy finalist Nathan MacKinnon, the loss added to a dispiriting run of post-season performances for players whose names have been in the running for league MVP. Over the past four seasons, the 12 finalists have combined to win just two total playoff series.
“There’s always next year, that’s all we talk about I feel like,” MacKinnon said after the game. “I’m going into my ninth year next year and I haven’t won s– so I’m definitely motivated. It just sucks losing four in a row to a team. It felt like last year was our first real chance to win and this year, I felt like we were the best team in the league. And for whatever reason we just couldn’t get it together.”
In a game that saw leads established and erased four times heading into the third period, Vegas and Colorado traded scoring punches for the first 40 minutes.
Devon Toews opened the scoring just 23 seconds into the game, capitalizing on a cross-ice feed from Nathan MacKinnon. The Golden Knights notched the next two goals, courtesy Nick Holden and William Karlsson.
The Golden Knights, who were 5-0 when leading after 40 minutes prior to Thursday’s game, held a one-goal lead heading into the third thanks to Alex Pietrangelo’s first goal of the playoffs.
In the final frame, a goal by William Carrier at 8:14 gave Vegas a two-goal insurance marker it wouldn’t relinquish. Max Pacioretty added an empty-netter to close out the Golden Knights’ victory.