The Vegas Golden Knights have battled back from a 2-0 series deficit to take the lead after the second overtime game in their series with the Colorado Avalanche. A chippy game resulted in a back and forth duel of scoring chances, and a quick overtime goal from Mark Stone to bury the hatchet.
The Avalanche came out on their home ice for Game 5 and set the tone early with their pace of play. Entering this game, the Avs had been outshot 110-52 by the Golden Knights since their huge win in Game 1, making it crucial for their forwards to get started early as they hoped to bring some momentum into Las Vegas for an elimination game. With a crowd of over 15,000 roaring at Ball Arena, Brandon Saad was able to find the back of the net on a slick wrist shot over Marc-Andre Fleury’s right shoulder with under one second left in the first period to open the scoring. Saad’s seventh goal of the 2021 playoffs now has him tied for second place on the leaderboard, and only one goal behind his teammate, Nathan MacKinnon.
The energy from Saad’s snipe carried into the second period for the Avalanche, as they continued their intense offensive pressure and created more scoring chances. Joonas Donskoi notched his third goal of the playoffs with a one-time slap shot from the high slot that, once again, found its way over Fleury’s right shoulder.
After carrying a two-goal lead into the locker room after two periods, the Avalanche came out flat-footed to begin the third. An early defensive zone turnover led to a wide-open breakaway for Alex Tuch, who whacked the puck out of the air to beat Philipp Grubauer for a stylish goal. Just over three minutes later, another turnover by the Avalanche caused an odd-man rush for Vegas’ lethal second line, and Jonathan Marchessault finished off the pass from William Karlsson for his sixth goal of the playoffs. Marchessault buried that goal after recording a hat trick in Game 4, giving him five goals over his past three games.
Overtime in Denver was short-lived, but nothing less than exciting. Marc-Andre Fleury slid across his crease to stop a laser shot from J.T. Compher that could have ended the game just ten seconds into the extra period. Shortly after, Mark Stone took off on a stretch pass from Max Pacioretty and fired a hard wrist shot on a breakaway to beat Grubauer and end the game only 50 seconds into overtime.
The outcome of this game could have been much different if it weren’t for Marc-Andre Fleury. He made 28 saves against one of the most high-powered offenses in the league, including multiple breakaway stops and desperate dives. Fleury continues to prove that age is just a number, putting up phenomenal numbers and in the running for the Vezina Trophy at age 36.
With their win, the Golden Knights hand the Avalanche their first loss on home ice since March 8 and also become the first road team to win a game in this series. Vegas will look to carry their three-game winning streak, and all the momentum, back to T-Mobile Arena for Game 6 on Thursday night, while Colorado will hope to bounce back and force Game 7.
Ben’s Three Stars:
- Marc-Andre Fleury, VGK (28 saves, W)
- Mark Stone, VGK (OT winner)
- Alex Pietrangelo, VGK (Ast, 7 shots)