We now know the rivals of the Montreal Canadiens in the third round: the Las Vegas Golden Knights, who defeated Colorado in six games.
This semi-final kicks off in Nevada on Monday night at 9:00 p.m.
The Knights advanced on the board, beating the Avalanche 6-3 on Thursday.
Alex Pietrangelo gave the Las Vegas club a 4-3 cushion with just 17.2 seconds left in the second period.
Alex Tuch’s shot missed the mark; Pietrangelo took advantage of the rebound against the board to send the puck over the glove of Philipp Grubauer, who was diving to try to make the save.
William Carrier added an insurance goal midway through the third period, deflecting a shot from Shea Theodore.
Max Pacioretty put the finishing touches in an empty net – with 3:10 on the clock.
Although brief, the history of the Golden Knights already has many long stints in the playoffs. They were beaten in the Stanley Cup final in their first season, in 2017-18. In 2020, they were defeated in the third round.
Nick Holden, William Karlsson and Keegan Kolesar were the Golden Knights’ other scorers on Thursday. Marc-André Fleury stopped 30 shots.
The win is also somewhat of an early party giveaway for coach Peter DeBoer, who turns 53 on Sunday.
Holden and Karlsson scored in the first period, after Devon Toews’ net.
Mikko Rantanen and Andre Burakovsky also scored for the Avalanche.
Grubauer made 17 saves.
The game started badly for Vegas. Toews was left alone in the box, Nathan MacKinnon joined him from the right flank and Toews hit the top of the net 23 seconds after the initial face-off.
The Golden Knights, however, responded less than a minute later, on a game where Grubauer looked bad.
Holden went there with a floating left point shot. Grubauer gave the impression that he didn’t see the disc made it all the way to the blue line – he reacted little or no to the shot, and the score became even.
Grubauer looked better on a breakaway from Tuch and a shot from Alec Martinez’s wrists.
Shortly after, a shot from Martinez hit the crossbar.
Martinez was more successful at the end of the first period. He made a long pass to the left circle, where Karlsson converted a receiving shot.
The visitors responded early in the middle period, on the power play (Pietrangelo, for delaying the game).
There were 37 seconds left when a shot from Rantanen deflected against Zach Whitecloud’s right skate. The puck ended its course behind Fleury at 3:47.
The accomplices were Gabriel Landeskog and Mackinnon, who had not scored a point in his three previous games.
Kolesar gave the Knights back control at 2:27 PM in the second period. After winning a face-off, he positioned himself in the right place to redirect a shot from Pietrangelo’s point.
Burakovsky got everyone back to square one by beating Fleury on the far side, 2:25 later.
Vegas had the final say and the Avalanche lost their fourth straight game – a streak the club didn’t experience during the regular season.