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Brewin Flames

VGK 2018/19 Season Chatter

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Game # 71

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Reaves scores tiebreaker, Golden Knights beat Stars 2-1

Reaves score go-ahead goal vs. StarsRyan Reaves secures the win for the Golden Knights with a goal in the third period.

DALLAS -- Ryan Reaves was in the right place at the right time for his first goal in 26 games.

Reaves scored the tiebreaking goal early in the third period, and the Vegas Golden Knights beat the Dallas Stars 2-1 Friday night.

Reaves put a wrist shot inside the left goal post at 2:37 of the third. He took the rebound of a shot by Pierre-Edouard Bellemare off Anton Khudobin's save and the deflection off a defender's skate. It was Reaves' ninth of the season.

"(Bellemare) just got a good shot through and the goalie made a save," Reaves said, "and he tied up the guy in front and then it trickled to me."

Max Pacioretty scored in the opening minute of the game for Vegas, and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 40 shots -- including 16 in the third period -- for his 35th win. The Golden Knights have won seven of eight to remain third in the Pacific Division.

Roope Hintz scored for Dallas and Anton Khudobin finished with 35 saves and also stopped a penalty shot by William Karlsson in the second period. The Stars lost for just the second time in eight games but fell from third in the Central Division behind St. Louis. Each team has 79 points, but the Blues have a game in hand.

Khudobin was more upset by Pacioretty's goal that put Vegas ahead just 18 seconds into the game. Pacioretty scored on a snap shot from between the faceoff circles.

"I gotta stop that," Khudobin said. "Bottom line. First minute of the game, maybe I was sleepy. It went by my five-hole,"

Hintz tied it at 4:04 as he stole the puck from Deryk Engelland in the Vegas zone, skated to the right of the goal and put in a backhander.

Fleury stopped Dallas' late-game flurry.

"It's busy back there. (Alexander) Radulov's always there in front of me and (Jamie) Benn. Big dudes. I'm just trying to find the puck around them. But I've played with my D-men for a while now and I know what to expect from them and they know what to expect from me."

Stars coach Jim Montgomery said his team had their opportunities, including 13 shots on power plays.

"I thought our chances were good," he said. "I thought the first power play was excellent. I thought it built a lot of momentum. The last power play I thought was really good.

"Fleury was excellent."

Khudobin made a pad save on Karlsson's penalty shot at 1:37 of the second period. Esa Lindell was called for holding on a breakaway.

"It's a little bit different approach than shootouts after a game," Khudobin said. "Just preparing to stop and trying to take away his options."

Vegas coach Gerald Gallant recognized a Dallas defense that has the second-fewest goals against this season and only six goals allowed in the last seven games.

"That's the way they've played all year. They're one of the best defensive teams in the league. I thought it was a tight game, there wasn't a whole lot either way."

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Game # 72

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Marchessault scores 2 to help Golden Knights beat Oilers 6-3

LAS VEGAS -- Malcolm Subban has been nearly unbeatable at home in two seasons with the Vegas Golden Knights.

With starter Marc-Andre Fleury listed as day-to-day with a lower body injury, the Golden Knights should be just fine with two of their next three games in Vegas.

Jonathan Marchessault scored two goals, Subban stopped 16 shots to improve to 12-1-0 all-time at T-Mobile Arena and the Golden Knights beat the Edmonton Oilers 6-3 Sunday night.

Subban, who improved to 5-8-0 this season, also has a .917 save percentage and 2.32 goals-against average in his career at home.

"The boys played great, I don't think I had more than 20 shots, not too much work and obviously we were relentless around their net and got some goals," Subban said. "We knew they were on a back-to-back so the more we make them play in their zone the tougher it's gonna be mentally on them."

Mark Stone, Cody Eakin, Brayden McNabb and Alex Tuch also scored as Vegas improved to 8-1-0 in nine games since acquiring Stone from Ottawa at the NHL trade deadline.

Stone got the home crowd rocking early when he picked up his first goal at home since joining the Golden Knights when he buried a one-timer to extend his career-high season to 69 points 5:40 into the game.

"I was excited; to get off to such a good start, too, kind of set them back a little bit, which is kind of what we stressed going into the game to begin with," Stone said. "But to get that goal right away was a good feeling for sure."

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Leon Draisaitl and Kris Russell scored for Edmonton, while Connor McDavid had two assists. Mikko Koskinen made 28 saves.

Vegas, third in the Pacific Division, increased its lead over Arizona to seven points. The Oilers remained seven points behind the Coyotes for the second wild card in the Western Conference.

After splitting the first two meetings in Edmonton, Vegas took a 2-1 lead in the season series, while improving to 3-3-1 all-time against the Oilers.

"I thought the way we come out in the first period, all kinds of scoring chances, moved the puck well, and we didn't give up a whole lot defensively," Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said. "I loved the way we played, we played an excellent game tonight, we played fast, we played our game."

Marchessault's back-to-back goals early in the second and early in the third gave Vegas the lead for good at 4-2 as he beat Koskinen glove side both times.

"We have a lot of good players in the lineup," Marchessault said. "They gotta respect our lineup top to bottom. We take a lot of pride of having four lines that can produce and play well defensively too. It makes it extra hard on the opponent now"

Russell's blast from the point pulled Edmonton within one at 5:52, but McNabb pushed the lead back to two at 9:45 when he punched home a loose puck that squirted loose to the left of Koskinen.

Edmonton coach Ken Hitchcock challenged for goaltender interference, but after review, officials allowed the goal.

"I thought we were gonna get that call but that goal hurt us quite a bit," Hitchcock said. "But I thought in the third period they skated us into the ground a little bit and took advantage. We looked tired in the third period and they amped it up to another level."

Tuch's goal with 3:28 left in the game provided the final margin.

After Stone gave Vegas the early lead, Nugent-Hopkins tied it from the high slot, where he drilled Connor McDavid's feed on the power play with 6:46 left in the first. McDavid now has points in 31 of his last 34 games, posting 55 points (17 goals, 38 assists).

Eakin put Vegas back ahead with 55 seconds left in the opening period with his 18th as he streaked into the zone while gathering Tomas Nosek's cross-ice feed, and beat Koskinen top shelf on the glove side.

McDavid registered his NHL-best eighth consecutive multi-point game when he collected a rebound from a face-off win and fed Draisaitl, who was waiting on the doorstep tie it again with 43rd just 22 seconds into the second.

Marchessault put Vegas ahead less than two minutes later.

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Game # 73

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Smith, Marchessault lead Golden Knights past Sharks 7-3

Marchessault scores twice in Golden Knights' winJonathan Marchessault scores a goal in the first period and an empty-netter in the third period to lead the Golden Knights past the Sharks 7-3.

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- After an up-and-down second season together, the top line for the Vegas Golden Knights is starting to click again when it really counts.

Jonathan Marchessault had two goals and two assists, Reilly Smith had a goal and three assists and the Golden Knights won for the ninth time in 10 games, beating the San Jose Sharks 7-3 on Monday night.

William Karlsson added a goal and an assist as the trio combined for 10 points, giving the line 33 points during this 10-game stretch that started with the arrival of Mark Stone in a deadline deal from Ottawa.

"It's definitely been a little bit of a roller coaster year for us," Marchessault said. "We're not producing as much as last year. It's fine. I think we're playing well still defensively and shutting down big lines on the other teams. When we do that I think that's when we're the most successful."

The way they have played the past three weeks showed why it's so important for the Sharks to catch Calgary in the Pacific Division race and avoid a first-round playoff series against the surging Golden Knights. San Jose trails the Flames by one point, and Calgary has a game in hand. The Sharks have a seven-point edge over Vegas in the race for second place and home-ice advantage in the first round.

The Sharks dropped their third straight home game in regulation for the first time in three years as they failed once again with an opportunity to clinch a playoff berth.

"I'm concerned," said Logan Couture, who scored twice. "We hadn't played well, we're giving up too many chances, too many easy goals. We're giving up odd-man rushes. We have to get back to shooting the puck."

Perhaps more concerning for San Jose was the absence of captain Joe Pavelski, who missed his first game with an injury in more than eight years. Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said the team's leading goal scorer has a lower-body injury and is out longer than day to day.

Joe Thornton had a goal for San Jose. Martin Jones allowed three goals on 11 shots before being replaced by Aaron Dell in the first period.

Stone, Paul Stastny and Cody Eakin also scored for Vegas. Malcolm Subban made 36 saves in place of injured Marc-Andre Fleury.

The game was a possible playoff preview, with the teams lined up to meet in the first round based on the current standings. A rivalry is already building between the clubs after Vegas knocked out San Jose in six games in the second round on the way to a Stanley Cup Final appearance during its expansion season a year ago.

The intensity was high from the start, with Couture's goal on the opening shift setting the tone for a wild first period that featured five goals, 25 shots, five power plays and a goalie change.

The Sharks tried to take control early. Tomas Hertl hit the post on the second shift before Vegas responded with two goals from its top line and another from the No. 1 power-play unit to take a 3-2 lead after one.

Marchessault and Smith were involved in all three goals, capped by Marchessault's bad-angle shot that ended Jones' night.

"I think we were just getting rewarded tonight," Smith said. "We had other games where I think we were probably making better plays, creating better opportunities. Tonight the pucks were just going in for us."

The Golden Knights could have had even more when they got a power play late in the period after Micheal Haley took exception to Ryan Reaves' hard hit on Melker Karlsson before a line change. Haley rushed over and tried to pull Reaves off the bench for a fight, getting a penalty on the play.

Vegas couldn't capitalize despite getting 16 seconds of a two-man advantage for too many men on the ice.

But the Golden Knights did take advantage of a bad penalty in the second period when Thornton hit Shea Theodore late in the offensive zone for an interference call. That led to Stastny's goal that put Vegas up 4-2 heading into the third and the Golden Knights poured it on from there.

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Game # 74

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Subban records first career shutout, Vegas tops Jets 5-0

Karlsson opens and closes scoring for VegasWilliam Karlsson's pair of goals increases his total to 22 on the season, as the Golden Knights clobber the Jets 5-0.

LAS VEGAS -- Marc-Andre who?

No, the Vegas Golden Knights won't have a goaltending controversy on their hands when Marc-Andre Fleury returns from a lower-body injury. But Malcolm Subban is certainly making the case he's more than capable of starting against any team, and in any arena.

Subban stopped 20 shots for his first NHL shutout, William Karlsson and Reilly Smith each scored twice, and the Golden Knights beat the Winnipeg Jets 5-0 on Thursday night.

"It's been definitely fun, obviously," said Subban, whose shutout came in his 35th career start. "They're a great team, so just came in here trying to get the win. The boys played a great game in front of me. ... Obviously, they got a few chances, they're a good team, couple on the power play, but other than that, not too much. Definitely a great all-around win for sure."

Subban, who won at San Jose on Monday, is nearly unbeatable at T-Mobile Arena with a 13-1-0 record in two seasons.

"We like to defend our home and defend the fortress, as we say," Subban said. "The boys always play great here. The fans give us so much momentum here. Can't thank them enough. They've been the best fans since the first exhibition game last year."

Tomas Nosek also scored for Vegas, which is 10-1 since losing to Winnipeg 6-3 in its final game before acquiring Mark Stone at the trade deadline.

Since the trade deadline, Vegas' top line of Karlsson (four goals, eight assists), Smith (seven goals, eight assists) and Jonathan Marchessault (four goals, eight assists) has accounted for 39 points.

"There's a lot of positivity right now," said Smith, who has at least one point in 15 of his last 19 games, having scored eight goals and dishing out 15 assists. "Obviously the goal is to be peaking when playoffs come around. We're definitely turning it in the right direction right now. The main goal for us is to keep our foot on the gas and make sure we're trying to get better every day."

It marked the first time in franchise history the Golden Knights scored five or more goals in three straight games. During their 11-game run, they've outscored opponents 47-22, and are 5-1 against teams currently in Western Conference playoff position.

"I thought we played a complete game tonight, it was excellent," Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said. "I like the way our team's played the last 10, 11 games. We continue to keep it going. We play a simple game. ... We're a better hockey team now, but I knew we had a good hockey team. We got a lot of confidence last year, we feel good about our team. We had some ups and downs like most teams go through the season -- except for Tampa Bay, so far. I like our team and I've always liked our team."

Winnipeg, meanwhile, dropped to 5-3-0 in the second game of back-to-backs this season after defeating the Anaheim Ducks 3-0 on Wednesday. The Jets missed a chance to clinch a playoff berth while having their four-game win streak snapped.

Laurent Brossoit started in net for the Jets, but was pulled after allowing three goals. Connor Hellebuyck, who entered with 14 minutes left in the second period, allowed two goals and made 18 saves.

Vegas, which has the seventh-best penalty kill, stopped Winnipeg twice on the power play. The Jets, who had scored a power-play goal in five consecutive games, came into the game with the league's fourth-best unit.

"We had a tough night, got ourselves in a hole early," said Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice, who remains one win shy of passing Dick Irvin (692) for the seventh-most wins in NHL history. "I think if we'd been able to score at the 2-0 mark, on the power play, might have been able to capture some energy, but we weren't able to do that. And then it was over pretty quick by the end of the second."

After Karlsson and Smith gave the Golden Knights a 2-0 lead after one period, Nosek picked up his eighth goal of the season when he broke free alone for a short-handed snipe that chased Brossoit in favor of Hellebuyck.

Smith scored his second of the game and 17th of the season when he took a pass from Karlsson and lasered a wrist shot past Hellebuyck to make it 4-0. And just 24 seconds later, it was Karlsson with a solid move to the slot, between Winnipeg's Joe Morrow and Patrik Laine, and beat Hellebuyck far side to extend Vegas' lead to 5-0.

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Game # 75

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Mantha scores in OT, Red Wings beat Golden Knights 3-2

Mantha's scores game-tying and game-winning goals for Red WingsAnthony Mantha scores the game-winning and game-tying goals in Detroit's 3-2 win over Vegas.

LAS VEGAS -- Anthony Mantha acknowledges he has had a rough season, with "ups and downs" he's had to learn from, especially after missing 15 games with a hand injury midway through the season.

Mostly, it's the downs he's focused on in order to become a better player. Saturday night, it paid off.

Mantha scored the tying goal midway through the third period and got the winner 19 seconds into overtime, lifting the Detroit Red Wings to a 3-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights.

"Great play by (Dylan) Larkin, he was all over that forecheck, good stick on puck, created the turnover and then he tried to get a shot off and he wasn't able to, so he just tried to tap it back and he found my stick and it was a wide open net," Mantha said about the game-winning goal. "We knew we had to get a good start because this building is so loud and I think that's what we did. It's a fun building, it's loud, fans are into it, obviously it brings energy on both sides and you just try to build off of it."

On the winning goal, Vegas' Reilly Smith -- playing in his 500th career game -- turned the puck over right in front of the net, where Larkin fed Mantha, who poked home his 19th of the season, and first game-winning goal. Mantha also snapped a six-game scoring drought.

Luke Glendening also scored for Detroit and Jimmy Howard stopped 28 shots to improve to 3-5-0 in his last eight starts, and earn his first career win over the Golden Knights.

"From the drop of the puck, we were ready to go tonight," Howard said. "We had a great start to almost every single period and when we do that it gives us confidence. We didn't mess around with the puck in our own zone."

Several players agreed that even during a disappointing season that has Detroit with the third-least number of points in the NHL, playing in Las Vegas ignited the Red Wings, who will miss the playoffs for the third straight campaign after making the playoffs for 25 consecutive seasons.

Detroit improved to 2-0-0 inside T-Mobile Arena, recently voted by NHL players as the league's best atmosphere to play in.

"I think it's one of a kind," defenseman Madison Bowey said. "I think just how loud it is, the emotions, everything is going and I think it just takes a really good team to kind of slow it down and communicate out there and work as one. I think we did that tonight, just as we planned."

Slowing it down is something the opposition has struggled with against the Golden Knights, who came into the game on a 10-1-0 run since the trade deadline, while outscoring teams 47-22.

Smith and Cody Eakin scored for the Golden Knights, and Malcolm Subban finished with 27 saves while falling to 13-2-0 in two seasons at T-Mobile Arena.

"We were flat at the start of the game and some lullness in the second period," Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said. "I didn't think we were horrible, but I didn't think we had the energy or the jump. I'm glad we got the one, but they played a good, hard game."

Mantha tied it on a power play with 8:43 left in the third period on a one-timer from the right circle.

Glendening gave Detroit a 1-0 lead with his 10th at 3:06 of the first, and Eakin tied it with 5:17 left in the second when he was alone at the doorstep, positioned perfectly for a rebound, and knocked the puck home for his 20th. Smith gave the Golden Knights their first lead of the game with a short-handed breakaway just past the midpoint of the third, when he deked around Howard and flipped a backhand top shelf for his 18th, a lead that lasted just over a minute.

With the overtime loss, Vegas still needs four points to clinch a playoff berth, whether it comes by way of victory or losses by Arizona.

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Game # 76
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Blues beat Golden Knights 3-1 to close in on playoff spot

O'Reilly scores in Blues' winRyan O'Reilly scores in the second period for the go-ahead goal as the Blues defeat the Golden Knights 3-1.

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues paid a big price to obtain Ryan O'Reilly and it's already looking like a bargain.

O'Reilly, Ivan Barbashev and Zach Sanford scored to help the Blues beat the Vegas Golden Knights 3-1 on Monday night.

St. Louis acquired O'Reilly from the Buffalo Sabres last offseason for a 2019 first-round draft pick, a 2021 second-round pick plus Tage Thompson, Vladimir Sobotka and Patrik Berglund.

Buffalo never made the playoffs in O'Reilly's three seasons there. He reached the playoffs twice with Colorado, the last time during the 2013-14 season. Now he's on the cusp of getting back into postseason play with the Blues.

"It's awesome. It's one of the best things in hockey when you're playing in meaningful games and preparing for the playoffs," O'Reilly said. "It's what you train for in the summer -- to go the distance. It's nice to be in this position. It feels good but there's a lot of work left to do."

St. Louis, which has six games to play, sits third in the Central Division and is closing in on a playoff spot. The Blues remained two points behind second-place Nashville, which beat Minnesota 1-0.

Jordan Binnington made 24 saves for his 21st victory of the season. He is one win short of matching Jake Allen's record set in 2014-15 for the most by a Blues rookie goaltender.

William Karlsson scored for Vegas, which could have clinched a playoff berth with a win. The Golden Knights are in third place in the Pacific Division, 11 points ahead of Arizona.

The Blues completed a sweep of their four-game homestand, outscoring the opposition 19-8. They won all three meetings with the Golden Knights this season and outscored them 12-5 overall. St. Louis is 4-0-2 all-time against Vegas, which reached the Stanley Cup Final as an expansion team last year.

St. Louis struck first late in the opening period.

Las Vegas goalie Malcolm Subban, making his fifth straight start, threw the puck behind the net but Sanford was there to control it. He skated out and fed Barbashev in the bottom of the right circle. Barbashev threaded his wrist shot between Subban's arm and body with 1:19 left in the period.

"I was a little surprised there," Barbashev said. "I was trying to shoot the short side and how it got in between his arm and his body, I don't know."

Barbashev has four goals and five points in his last three games.

Subban wished he had the play back.

"I probably should have covered it if I didn't have a play, but I just kind of threw it blindly behind," he said. "It's tough especially to give up the first goal that I gave up. It's tough in a game like that."

Alex Tuch got free on a breakaway at 8:20 of the second but Binnington made a solid save.

Jay Bouwmeester was called for slashing at 13:14 and the Golden Knights capitalized. Karlsson scored with 2 seconds left on the power play when he put in a rebound of Colin Miller's shot at 15:12.

"I think they played really well," Karlsson said about the Blues. "They were right on top of us and made it hard for us."

St. Louis regained the lead on O'Reilly's 27th goal when he snapped in a wrist shot from the left circle at 18:14 after taking a pass from Bouwmeester.

O'Reilly had gone eight games without a goal. His career-best total of 28 came in 2013-14 with Colorado.

"I haven't been shooting the puck very well lately," O'Reilly said. "Bouwmeester made a great pass to set me up there. The goal came at a good time. It gave us a little spark."

Bouwmeester gave O'Reilly all the credit.

"I saw him going. It was good play by him to pick it up," Bouwmeester said. "It was a pretty hard pass. He's a good guy to get going on a breakaway."

Sanford made it 3-1 at 6:27 of the third. Robert Bortuzzo fired a shot and Subban blocked it. The loose puck was airborne and hit Sanford in the neck as he was on his knees and it went in for a goal. Alex Pietrangelo also got an assist -- the 300th of his career.

After a timeout with 1:13 to play, Subban was pulled for an extra skater. He finished with 19 saves.

"I thought it was a good game, a good hockey game by both teams," Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said. "Obviously they got the three goals and beat us tonight, but I thought we played well. We made a couple mistakes that ended in the back of our net, but there wasn't a lot of room out there. It was a playoff-atmosphere type of game and they played really well."

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Game # 77

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Barrie, Grubauer help Avs hold on for 4-3 win over Knights

DENVER -- Philipp Grubauer keeps making big stops and it's going a long way toward saving Colorado's season.

Tyson Barrie scored in the second period to become Colorado's career goals leader among defensemen, Grubauer kept up his solid play with a 34-save performance and the playoff-chasing Avalanche beat the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3 on Wednesday night.

Grubauer has taken over in goal for Semyon Varlamov and the Avalanche have taken off. They're 5-0-1 over Grubauer's last six starts.

"Fantastic," Colin Wilson said. "Grubi's been amazing in net."

Matt Calvert, Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Bourque also scored as the Avalanche stayed two points in front of Arizona for the last wild-card spot in the Western Conference with five games left. Colorado hosts the Coyotes in a pivotal matchup Friday.

Barrie's 73rd career goal moved him out of a tie with Sandis Ozolinsh for most among Avalanche defenders. Barrie also had two assists.

"It's a great feeling to have it come at this time of year when these games mean so much," Barrie said.

Paul Stastny, Reilly Smith and Alex Tuch scored for a Vegas team that was denied a chance to clinch a playoff spot. Goaltender Malcolm Subban stopped 26 shots in his sixth consecutive start. The Golden Knights fell into a 3-0 hole and couldn't recover.

Tuch made it a 4-3 game with 3:23 left when he knocked in a puck out of the air. Vegas pulled Subban with just over a minute left and had several chances, only to be denied by Grubauer. With 7.6 seconds remaining, MacKinnon was called for holding the stick and the Golden Knights had a 6-on-4 opportunity. Jonathan Marchessault had a chance in the waning seconds, but sent his shot just wide of the net.

"I think we were the better team tonight," Smith said. "But we put ourselves in the hole in the first period and didn't have enough to dig ourselves out."

Trailing 3-0 midway through the second, the Golden Knights got goals from Stastny and Smith to climb back into the game. Bourque extended the lead to 4-2 with his second goal of the season from the right circle with 2:50 remaining in the period.

That was just enough of a cushion for Grubauer, who was named the NHL's third star of the week Monday after stopping 149 of 155 shots.

"Obviously we made it interesting there," Barrie said. "They're a good team and they've been playing really well lately so it's not a surprise they were going to give us a push at the end. We showed a lot of character to kind of grind that one out."

Colorado scored first in a seventh straight game when Calvert took a pass from Tyson Jost and lined a wrist shot past Subban 5:39 into the game. It was Calvert's first goal since Feb. 20.

MacKinnon added another nearly three minutes later when he spun past a defenseman on the power play and beat a screened Subban. That was goal No. 38 for MacKinnon this season.

"We lost the game in the first period because we didn't compete and didn't battle and got out-skated," Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said.

Gradually, the Avalanche are returning to health. Matt Nieto was back in the lineup after missing 15 games with a lower-body injury. The team is still without two of their top scorers in Mikko Rantanen and captain Gabriel Landeskog as they both deal with upper-body ailments.

Landeskog participated Wednesday in the morning practice wearing a red non-contact jersey. There remains no update on Rantanen.

"Obviously missing those guys is huge, but it' another opportunity for other guys to step up," Grubauer said. "The guys are doing a tremendous job. Can't wait for those guys to come back, though."

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Game # 78

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Wild defeat Golden Knights 3-2, stay in playoff hunt

LAS VEGAS -- They don't call it the wild, wild West for nothing.

The aptly named Minnesota Wild are still alive in the Western Conference playoff race after Devan Dubnyk stopped 35 shots in a 3-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday night.

Despite the loss, the Golden Knights clinched their second consecutive playoff berth when playoff-contending Arizona lost in a shootout at Colorado, which currently holds the second wild-card spot.

Four teams sitting below the Western Conference playoff line -- Arizona, Minnesota, Chicago and Edmonton -- are within eight points of the second wild-card spot, currently held by Colorado.

"It's desperate, we know where we're at," said Wild center Eric Staal, who had a goal and an assist in the win. "We were crossing our fingers that Arizona beat Colorado tonight just to kind of tighten it up a little bit more. But we needed to win and we knew that going into tonight and we were desperate. I thought we were solid, competitive through our lineup. We deserved the win tonight, now you just have to follow it up Sunday for us."

The Wild, who are six points back of the second Avalanche, face Arizona on Sunday. The Coyotes are three points in front of Minnesota, which improved to 5-0-1 all-time against Vegas, including a perfect 3-0-0 at T-Mobile Arena.

"Sometimes against certain teams you get good feelings and I think we're confident in what we can do against this team," Staal said. "They got a good team. It's always been a tight battle every time we've played them. This is a great building. It's pretty easy to get up for the game. It was a good two points."

Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau said while he's happy with another blue-collar win by his team, he acknowledged it was hard not to keep one eye on the score of the Colorado-Arizona game, as the Wild were hoping for a Coyotes win.

"You came away with 18 players working together and a goalie playing really well, and that's how you win," he said. "All we can worry about is ourselves. ... We've got to focus on our next game."

Minnesota came in mired in a 3-6-1 slide, but fueled by a playoff hunt, opened the game with a 3-0 lead on goals by Greg Pateryn, Staal and Kevin Fiala.

Paul Stastny scored both of Vegas' goals, and Malcolm Subban made 30 saves. Subban dropped to 0-4-0 against the Wild.

But it was Dubnyk who was the star of the night, improving to 4-0-1 against the Golden Knights with a 1.80 goals against average against the second-year franchise.

The 6-foot-6 netminder made two of his biggest saves of the season during the game, both of which defined how dominating he has been against Vegas.

In the second period, he laid out to stop Mark Stone on one side of the goal. Instead, Stone skated with the puck behind the net and attempted to score on a wraparound, but Dubnyk scrambled to make a highlight-reel glove save.

"I shouldn't have gone fishing in the first place, that was where the problem started there," Dubnyk said. "I reached and couldn't get there, so when he picked it up, I was kind of in trouble and you've just got to find your shortest route back there. I usually take pride in trying not to roll around like that, but sometimes you've got to have some desperation and those are fun when you get a chance to make them."

In the game's waning moments, Dubnyk extended his leg to stonewall Stastny with his pad to preserve the win for the Wild.

The Golden Knights, who are five points behind San Jose in the Pacific Division, travel to play the Sharks on Saturday.

"I'm real happy. I may not look it right now, but it's an 82-game schedule and you try to make the playoffs," Vegas coach Gerard Gallant. "We would've loved to win the hockey game tonight . but we made the playoffs tonight, so that's a big accomplishment."

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Game # 79

Vegas.gif 3 sjsmall.png 4 OT

Burns scores in OT, Sharks top Golden Knights 4-3

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The San Jose Sharks came from behind and finally experienced a victory again.

Brent Burns scored on a power play at 22 seconds of overtime and the Sharks snapped a seven-game losing streak, beating the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3 on Saturday night.

The Sharks clinched second place in the Pacific Division and home ice in the first round of the playoffs, ending their longest skid of the season and sending Vegas to its franchise-worst fifth straight loss.

"We needed a win and we found a way," San Jose Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said.

The teams are likely to meet in the first round of the playoffs.

"Every time we play these guys, it's always a hard-fought game. You definitely feel the intensity out there," Sharks forward Evander Kane said. "It's fun to be a part of that game. I'm sure we'll see these guys again very soon."

The Sharks led the division as recently as March 12, when they defeated Winnipeg for their sixth straight win.

Injuries to defenseman Erik Karlsson and center Joe Pavelski, both All-Stars, have figured prominently in their slide, and DeBoer said unspecified injuries to centers Melker Karlsson and Lukas Radil are a concern.

"I don't know if we're ready" for the playoffs, DeBoer said. "You've got a list of four or five pretty good players sitting out, you're not ready for the playoffs, obviously, but if we can get healthy, we know our game. I know we lost seven, but we played a lot of good hockey this year, so I think we're confident in our game."

San Jose remained mathematically alive in the Pacific Division title race, closing to within six points of first-place Calgary in the Pacific Division. A regulation loss would have eliminated them from contention.

Colin Miller took a hooking penalty with 54.7 seconds left in regulation, setting up the power play.

Tomas Hertl, Kane and Marc-Edouard Vlasic also scored for San Jose, and Martin Jones made 23 saves.

San Jose hadn't lost more than seven straight since a 10-game skid Nov. 5-30, 2005, when it went 0-7-3.

"To win a game, it feels like it's been three months, honestly," Sharks center Logan Couture said. "When you don't win, you feel it weighing on you, so it's a relief to finally win one."

William Karlsson had a goal and had an assist for the Golden Knights. Cody Eakin and Shea Theodore also scored, and Malcolm Subban stopped 30 shots.

"We're losing too much," Karlsson said. "Things have been going way my, but that's in the past. We have to look forward."

Karlsson opened the scoring at 3:54 of the first period. The Sharks tied it at 58 seconds of the second period on Hertl's 35th goal of the season and fourth in five games.

Eakin flicked in a backhander past Jones at 5:30 of the second period for 21st goal to give Vegas a 2-1 lead.

Kane tied it for San Jose with his 29th goal at 7:22 of the third period.

Vlasic scored at 11:26 of the third period, and Theodore tied it for Vegas less than 40 seconds later.

"There's pride in the rivalry and that's the way it's going to be," Eakin said. "There was a lot of stuff going on we could have straightened out. Four-on-three is tough at the end, in overtime. It could have gone either way. They're going to be playing hard and I'm sure they enjoyed it as much as we did."

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Game # 80

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Marchessault's goal leads Golden Knights over Oilers 3-1

LAS VEGAS -- Don't tell Vegas coach Gerard Gallant the rest of the regular season is meaningless.

Though the Golden Knights already became the seventh NHL team to make the playoffs in each of its first two seasons, Gallant insisted the final three games mean plenty to them.

That showed Monday night.

Jonathan Marchessault scored his sixth game-winning goal and Vegas earned a 3-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.

"Tonight was a perfect game for me," Gallant said. "Going down the stretch, the games don't mean nothing in the standings, but keep guys going, keep them going well, and I thought they played a good, solid game."

With third place in the Pacific Division and a first-round playoff date with San Jose already locked up, Vegas ended a five-game losing streak. The Golden Knights won the season series 3-1, outscoring Edmonton 15-9.

Cody Eakin and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare also scored for Vegas, which is 11-4-2 since the trade deadline.

Malcolm Subban stopped 18 shots while making his ninth straight start in place of Marc-Andre Fleury. Subban ended an 0-3-2 skid since earning his first career shutout on March 21 and has a 2.67 goals-against average during the nine-game span.

"It was a good win, for sure. It felt good. It was a good team win," Subban said. "You always want to try and get the first goal and play in front -- that obviously helps a lot over the course of the game. That makes it a little bit easier."

Eakin gave the Golden Knights a 1-0 lead early in the first period when he gathered the puck just outside the blue line, skated to the top of the right circle and roofed a wrist shot past Edmonton goaltender Mikko Koskinen.

"Every game is important this time of year and we want to build some good habits. Tonight was a good start and we'll continue that," Eakin said. "I think we know how we need to be successful. I thought we had some good habits tonight to get back to that winning way."

Marchessault's eventual game-winner came 51 seconds into the second when he poked the puck away from Leon Draisaitl in the defensive zone, broke free alone and beat Koskinen with a backhand between his legs to make it 2-0. Marchessault has scored a point in 17 of his last 26 games, with eight goals and 15 assists.

The Oilers, meanwhile, started the game with their playoff hopes intact but were eliminated from contention midway through the first period when Colorado earned a point in a shootout loss at St. Louis.

"It is what it is -- we're out. It doesn't matter how many points you miss by, there's eight that are in, and eight that are out," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "At this time of year you want your team to compete at a high level and for the most part we did."

Koskinen made 28 saves and Connor McDavid tied a career best with his 41st goal for Edmonton. McDavid was left alone in the right circle, received a pass from linemate Zack Kassian and fired a wrist shot through Subban's legs to make it 2-1.

Bellemare's empty-netter provided the final margin.

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Game # 81

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Stepan scores twice, Coyotes dump Vegas, 4-1

LAS VEGAS -- The Arizona Coyotes' injury-plagued season finally came crashing down in the second period of their 81st game of the season.

Arizona entered Thursday night's game against the Vegas Golden Knights needing a win to stay in playoff contention, but was officially eliminated from the postseason when Colorado went into overtime with Winnipeg earlier in the night.

The Avalanche needed just one point to clinch the final spot in the Western Conference, and that ruined a solid performance by the Coyotes, who got two goals from Derek Stepan and 35 saves by Darcy Kuemper in a 4-1 road win over Vegas.

It marks the seventh consecutive campaign, and 13th time in the last 16 seasons, the Coyotes will miss the playoffs.

"This room is bummed," Stepan said. "You play an 82-game schedule, we're in the thick of things and obviously came up a little bit short. When it's official and you're officially out, it stinks. We worked extremely hard, gone through a lot as a group, so it's never easy being told that your season will be done after your last game."

The Coyotes lost 377 total man games to injury this season, but never lost their fight in a tight Pacific Division and hotly contested wild-card race in the Western Conference.

Since Jan. 6th, the Coyotes are on a 22-13-5 run, while their 16 wins since Feb. 9 are tied for the fifth-most in the NHL. Arizona has earned points in 16 of its last 22 games (13-6-3).

"In my short career, I've never seen something quite like this, that our group went through with injuries," Stepan said. "This group came and worked hard every single day. No one made excuses for this group. Everyone just put their work boots on. Didn't matter win (or) loss, we came back to the rink and we got back to work again the next day. That's a really positive thing and that makes a real special group."

The Coyotes, who have earned points in 16 of their last 22 games (13-6-3), improved to 3-3-3 all-time against the Knights, and 3-1-1 at T-Mobile Arena.

Richard Panik and Conor Garland also scored for the Coyotes. Kuemper has started a career-high 55 contests and has won a career-best 27 games. Since the calendar flipped to 2019, Darcy Kuemper is 22-9-6 with a 2.02 goals against average.

"That shows a lot. They didn't mail it in," Arizona coach Rick Tocchet said. "They played for `Kuemps.' That's the stuff I'm proud of."

Meanwhile, with Vegas locked into an opening-round series against Pacific Division-rival San Jose, the defending Western Conference champion welcomed back veteran goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who had been listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

The Golden Knights were 4-3-2 while backup goalie Malcolm Subban stepped in for Fleury, who made 30 stops in his 59th start of the season.

"I always think you can get better and little things I wasn't happy with and I still want to work on, so it's good we still have the LA game," said Fleury, whose 35 wins are tied for fourth-most in the NHL. "I feel sometimes it's the timing and the speed of the game. Finding guys around you also, sometimes you focus so much on the puck, you want to stop it, you forget to look around where people are at."

Fleury, a three-time Stanley Cup champion, will play in his 13th postseason, and second straight with the Golden Knights.

Mark Stone scored Vegas' lone goal, when Paul Stastny's takeaway deflection landed on his blade and he beat Kuemper with a backhand for his fifth goal with the Knights and career-high 33rd overall.

The lead wouldn't last long, though, as Panik gathered a loose puck in the slot and blasted a shot past Fleury while falling down to tie it at 1 with 2:37 left in the first period.

Stepan's two second-period goals pushed the Coyotes ahead 3-1.

On the first, Lawson Crouse fed Stepan, who deked around Fleury's right pad to give Arizona a 2-1 lead. Stepan got his 15th goal of the season when he buried a rebound that would get challenged by Vegas coach Gerard Gallant, who was looking for goaltender interference. The Situation Room confirmed the incidental contact between Crouse and Fleury occurred in the white ice and did not constitute goaltender interference.

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Game # 82

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Kovalchuk scores twice as Kings beat Golden Knights 5-2

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Kings and Vegas Golden Knights both accomplished their goals during their regular-season finale on Saturday night.

The Kings -- who will the Stanley Cup playoffs for the second time in three seasons -- closed a dreadful season with a 5-2 victory over the playoff-bound Golden Knights, who left Staples Center without any injuries.

Ilya Kovalchuk had two goals and Dustin Brown had two assists for Los Angeles, which finished last in the Western Conference with 71 points and had the second-fewest points in the NHL. The Kings will have three of the first 35 picks in the draft and have a 13.5% chance of landing the top overall pick when the draft lottery is held on Wednesday in Toronto.

"It's certainly not the season that we wanted, expected, all of the above," said Anze Kopitar, who had a goal and an assist. "It was nice ot end it on a good note, but we can't forget obviously."

Jeff Carter and Matt Roy also had goals while Jonathan Quick made 29 saves. The Kings closed the season with wins in six of their last 11 games.

Willie Desjardins, who served as Los Angeles' interim coach after John Stevens was fired 13 games into the season, did not comment about his coaching future. The Kings were 27-34-8 under Desjardins.

"I'm going to enjoy the win and worry about that in coming weeks," he said.

The Golden Knights are the seventh team in NHL history to make the playoffs in each of its first two seasons. They finished third in the Pacific Division and will open the Stanley Cup Playoffs at San Jose.

"It was sort of a meaningless game points wise but you have to play the best you can," Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said. "We didn't play great tonight. We played OK. I'm happy it's over with and now we can get ready for the playoffs."

Brandon Pirri and Valentin Zykov scored for Vegas while Mark-Andre Fleury made 27 saves.

Kovalchuk opened the scoring when he stripped the puck from Zykov in the neutral zone and skated up the left side of the ice before beating Fleury on his glove side at 12:14 of the first. It was Kovalchuk's first goal since March 2.

Carter extended the lead with five minutes remaining in the first when he was able to cash in on a rebound of his own shot for his 13th. Fleury made pad saves on the first two attempts before Carter got his third goal this season against the Golden Knights.

Roy got his second of the season at 10:35 of the second with a shot that went in off the crossbar after taking a pass from Brown.

Vegas then scored two goals less than three minutes apart. The Golden Knights got on the board 16 seconds after Roy's goal when Pirri got a loose puck near the right faceoff circle and fired a slap shot past Quick for his 12th

Zykov got the Golden Knights with his second of the season at 13:09 when he put in the net on a perfect pass from Jimmy Schuldt, who was playing in his first NHL game. Quick came out too far in front of the net, which left Zykov open.

Kopitar provided some breathing room 8:52 into the third with a power-play goal. Kopitar tapped in the loose puck for his 22nd after a mad scramble in the crease. Kovalchuk added an empty-netter with 55 seconds remaining for his 16th.

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