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NHL Nick's Net Playoff Recaps

Vegas completes comeback with OT victory in Game 5

Hockey is a 60-minute game and generally requires a “full 60-minute effort” to win, you know, the game, but the Colorado Avalanche didn’t do that on Tuesday, didn’t they?

If you read that in one of Bill Hader’s impression voices, give yourself a pat on the back.

Anyway, the Vegas Golden Knights scored two quick goals in the third period to send Game 5 into overtime, which was ended 50 seconds into the extra frame as the Golden Knights completed their comeback thanks to a game-winning goal from their captain, Mark Stone, and defeated the Avalanche, 3-2, on the road at Ball Arena in Denver.

Vegas leads the series 3-2 and can eliminate the 2020-21 Presidents’ Trophy winners on home ice in Game 6 on Thursday.

Marc-Andre Fleury (7-4, 1.81 goals-against average, .925 save percentage in 11 games played) made 28 saves on 30 shots against in the win for the Golden Knights.

Avs goaltender, Philipp Grubauer (6-3, 2.33 goals-against average, .925 save percentage in nine games played) stopped 22 out of 25 shots faced in the loss.

Colorado’s head coach, Jared Bednar, made two changes to his lineup, replacing Carl Soderberg and Kiefer Sherwood with Alex Newhook and Logan O’Connor.

Meanwhile, Nazem Kadri remains suspended for one more game after Tuesday’s effort. The earliest Kadri can return is if the Avalanche force a Game 7.

Mikko Rantanen fanned on a chance to score with an open net early in the opening frame, then bumped into Fleury and was assessed a minor penalty for goaltender interference as a result at 6:07 of the first period.

Vegas went on the power play for the first and only time of the night, but couldn’t convert on the ensuing skater advantage.

Late in the period, with just over a second remaining on the clock, Brandon Saad (7) entered the attacking zone and floated a shot over Fleury’s shoulder on the blocker side while the Golden Knights netminder botched a save by reaching across his chest with his glove hand and coming up empty as the puck hit the twine behind him.

Devon Toews (5) and Rantanen (8) tallied the assists on Saad’s goal as the Avalanche took a, 1-0, lead at 19:58 of the first period.

Entering the first intermission, Colorado led, 1-0, on the scoreboard thanks to Saad’s fourth goal of the series.

The Avs also held the advantage in shots on goal, 10-9, and led in takeaways (8-2), giveaways (6-1), hits (13-8) and faceoff win percentage (59-41).

Meanwhile, Vegas led in blocked shots (8-7) and was 0/1 on the power play as Colorado had yet to see any time on the advantage entering the middle frame.

There were no penalties in the second period as the two clubs swapped chances, ultimately leading to a one-timer goal from the bumper for Joonas Donskoi (3)– giving the Avalanche a, 2-0, lead at 16:28 of the second period as a result.

Newhook (1) and Patrik Nemeth (1) notched the assists on Donskoi’s goal as the Avs took a, 2-0, lead heading into the second intermission.

Colorado held the advantage in shots on goal, 21-14, and led in second period shots alone, 11-5, while also dominating in takeaways (13-8), giveaways (8-2), hits (30-20) and faceoff win% (53-47).

Vegas led in blocked shots (19-8), which would soon haunt the Avs.

The Golden Knights were still 0/1 on the power play and the Avalanche had yet to see time on the skater advantage.

Just over a minute into the final frame, Alex Tuch (4) batted the puck out of mid-air while settling a saucer pass from Nicolas Roy past Grubauer to cut Colorado’s lead in half, 2-1.

Roy (3) and Mattias Janmark (4) had the assists on Tuch’s goal at 1:03 of the third period as Andre Burakovsky’s turnover in his own zone deflected off of Janmark’s stick and led to Tuch’s goal.

The Golden Knights pounced on the swing in momentum as the home crowd was momentarily stunned.

Gabriel Landeskog misfired on a pass intended for either J.T. Compher or Ryan Graves along the point, but the rubber biscuit bounced off of the Avalanche defender’s skate and led Vegas on a rush back the other direction, whereby William Karlsson setup Jonathan Marchessault (6) for the game-tying goal.

Karlsson (7) had the only assist as Marchessault made it, 2-2, at 4:07 of the third period.

Just like that, Colorado’s two-goal deficit was gone.

Two, quick, sloppy plays gone horribly wrong. Vegas was surging.

The Avalanche managed to survive the Golden Knights’ onslaught, but failed to score on their only power play when Shea Theodore sent an errant puck over the glass for an automatic delay of game infraction at 10:50.

At the end of regulation, Colorado and Vegas were deadlocked, 2-2, on the scoreboard, despite the Avalanche holding a, 28-24, advantage in total shots on goal.

The Golden Knights actually led in shots on goal in the third period alone, 10-7, while Vegas also held the advantage in blocked shots (24-12).

The Avs dominated in just about everything else, including takeaways (18-12), giveaways (11-5) and hits (40-31), as both teams went, 50-50, in faceoff win% entering the extra frame.

As there were no penalties called in overtime, both clubs finished 0/1 on the night on the power play.

Less than a minute into the extra period, as some fans were probably just getting back to their seats from the long line at the bathroom during the 15-minute intermission, Stone (5) notched his first career Stanley Cup Playoffs overtime game-winning goal– top shelf, right in the corner on Grubauer’s far glove side.

Max Pacioretty (3) and Alex Pietrangelo (6) had the assists on Stone’s goal 50 seconds into overtime as the pair of Golden Knights teammates worked a quick break after blocking a shot in their own end.

Vegas won Game 5, 3-2, and taken a 3-2 series lead as a result, despite finishing the night trialing in shots on goal, 30-25, including a, 2-1, advantage in overtime alone for the Avalanche.

The Golden Knights wrapped up Tuesday night’s effort leading in blocked shots (26-11), while the Avs led in giveaways (11-5) and hits (41-31).

The two teams finished the night, 50-50, in faceoff win%.

Vegas can eliminate Colorado on home ice at T-Mobile Arena on Thursday night in Game 6 of their 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs Second Round series.

Puck drop is expected a little after 9 p.m. ET and viewers in the United States can tune to NBCSN for coverage, while those in Canada can choose from CBC, SN or TVAS.

By Nick Lanciani

I have a degree in communication and yet I cannot find the words for this bio. Anyway, I write stuff on Down the Frozen River, make/appear on podcasts, used to write stuff for Couch Guy Sports and apply to jobs for a living when I'm not painting something cool to distract myself from my unemployment.