LAS VEGAS — In the long run, it was a colossal Colorado collapse by the NHL’s Presidents’ Trophy champions.
A club-record 6-0 begin to the Stanley Cup playoffs one way or the other morphed right into a four-game shedding streak, capped off by a 6-3 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights in Sport 6 right here late Thursday.
Colorado misplaced 4 consecutive video games for the primary time this season and was eradicated within the second spherical of the playoffs for the third straight yr.
“It simply hurts,” Avs coach Jared Bednar stated. “Received to tip your hat to Vegas. Nice hockey group they usually performed actual effectively. They had been constant. We simply couldn’t get the job finished.”
The Avs, who scored 23 seconds into the sport at T-Cell Enviornment and managed the tempo for a lot of the sport, went down preventing at what the Golden Knights dub the “Fortress.” However two Colorado defensive-end turnovers led to Vegas objectives — a repeat of what went flawed in Sport 5’s 3-2 extra time loss at Ball Enviornment.
Avs defenseman Sam Girard was minus-4 and misplayed a zone exit that led to Vegas’ second aim and a 2-1 lead. Defenseman Patrik Nemeth dedicated a turnover late within the second interval that led to the Knights’ fourth aim and a 4-3 lead.
“It’s a recreation of errors and the margin of error is actual slim. That’s the tip of it,” Avs captain Gabe Landeskog stated. “Onerous-fought sequence. There are moments within the sequence the place issues went flawed for us, the place we’re going to must study from and decrease a few of these errors.”
Vegas, which added a aim from William Service halfway by way of the third interval and an empty-netter with 3:10 to play, grew to become the fourth group in NHL historical past to win a best-of-seven sequence in opposition to the league’s No. 1 seed after shedding the primary two video games. Chicago did so in 1962 and 1965, and Boston in 2011.
Vegas advances to play the Canadiens within the semifinals.
“There’s at all times subsequent yr. That’s all we speak about, I really feel like,” stated Avs star heart Nathan MacKinnon, who had a powerful Sport 6 (two assists) after struggling within the earlier three video games. “I’m stepping into my ninth yr subsequent yr and I haven’t received (crap). I’m undoubtedly motivated. Simply sucks, shedding 4 in a row to a group. I felt like final yr was our first actual probability to win and this yr I assumed we had been the perfect group within the league.”
Vegas scored two objectives within the first interval and one other two within the second en path to a 4-3 lead, although being outshot 22-16 to that time.
Avalanche goalie Philipp Grubauer struggled, making simply 17 saves.
With the rating tied 2-2, Grubauer wasn’t accountable on a fortunate bounce off the stick of fourth-line ahead Keegan Kolesar, who was not ready to attain. However after the Avs solid a 3-3 tie on the primary aim of the playoffs by winger Andre Burakovsky, Vegas scored with 18 seconds left within the interval to regain a lead it will not surrender.
It was an unpleasant breakdown, one other failed defensive-zone exit, this time by Nemeth, whose back-hand chip off the glass was blocked by heart Chandler Stephenson. The puck went to Alex Tuch, who deliberately caromed it off the tip boards behind Grubauer. Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo learn the play, pinched in and beat the sprawled Grubauer with loads of web to shoot at.
The Avs bought second-period objectives from Mikko Rantanen (energy play) and Burakovsky to forge 2-2 and 3-3 ties. Rantanen capitalized on the sport’s solely penalty by way of 40 minutes — Pietrangelo’s delay-of-game for taking pictures the puck out of play.
The Avalanche checked out occasions as if was destined to drive Sport 7 on Saturday in Denver.
“We had it in our arms and it slipped away,” Rantanen stated. “This stinks probably the most, for positive, as a result of the group we had, and the potential we had this yr, the way in which we performed. I actually don’t even know what to say right here.”
The Avs had an ideal begin, scoring 23 seconds into the sport. However Vegas took a 2-1 lead into the primary intermission and Girard was minus-2. Girard wasn’t accountable on the primary goal-against — that was totally on Grubauer — however he and Landeskog tousled a zone exit that led to Vegas’s second rating.
At 1-1, Landeskog was first to the puck on a Vegas dump-in. He had stress from Knights ahead Jonathan Marchessault however assist from Girard — and an choice to cross it to Cale Makar behind the web. However Landeskog slid it as much as Girard, who seemed caught in mud. William Karlsson gained possession, slid the puck to defenseman Alec Martinez and he hammered within the return cross.
Vegas defenseman Nick Holden, the previous Av, tied it 42 seconds after the Avs opened the scoring on the primary shift of the sport — with Devon Toews’ wrister off a rush cross from MacKinnon. Holden shot from the blue line close to the tip boards and the puck discovered its well beyond Grubauer, who appeared to count on Holden to dump it within the nook.