The Vegas Golden Knights just put themselves firmly in command of the Honda West Division Semifinal series against the Minnesota Wild with a 4-0 win and a 3-1 series lead heading back to Las Vegas Monday night.
Once again, the Golden Knights ended up getting another player on the scoresheet as Nicolas Roy scored twice to lead the offense. Mark Stone had an excellent all-around game including a goal and a plus-2 rating. Alex Tuch wrapped the scoring for Vegas.
Marc-Andre Fleury picked up his sixth playoff shutout with the Golden Knights on 35 saves. It appeared the Wild had scored to tie the game at 1-1 immediately after Vegas took the lead. But once again head coach Pete DeBoer was spot-on with a coach’s challenge, this time for goaltender interference. Marcus Foligno was ruled to have prevented Fleury from making the save and the goal was disallowed.
“We get one screen, one look, one angle on the bench. The one I was looking at looked like it was (intereference),” said DeBoer. “With offside usually it’s clear, but with goalie interference you’re never sure. I thought it had all the elements… (Fleury) couldn’t establish himself with Foligno in the paint… but you still never know.”
In reality, the Wild has not looked the same since the second period of Game Three, failing to score since. Strangely, Minnesota out-shot the Golden Knights heavily in the game, allowing only nine shots against over the final two periods while putting up 24 of their own. The difference (besides Fleury) seems to be that the Wild are falling a little short on depth and energy. Despite the fairly high shot total allowed tonight, the Golden Knights didn’t really need Fleury to don his cape and tights to defend the lead tonight. Rather it felt the game was under control almost the entire time.
Vegas can now move on to face the winner of the Colorado Avalanche – St. Louis Blues series which the Avs currently lead 3-0 and could close out with a win tomorrow.
- Fleury’s shutout was his 16th career playoff shutout, tying him with Curtis Joseph for third-most all-time. Martin Brodeur (24) and Patrick Roy (23) are just in front of Fleury at the top of the list.
- Nicolas Roy joins the list of scorers on the VGK who have tallied multiple goals now. After being blanked in Game One, Vegas has slowly but surely put the offense in gear. And now they seem to be firing on all cylinders.
- Alex Tuch and Mark Stone lead the team with three goals each in the post-season so far.
- Vegas is still without Max Pacioretty, and also played without Brayden McNabb and Tomas Nosek.
- Curiously, Zach Parise did not see any ice time during Minnesota’s four-minute double-minor power play chance in the second period. Parise was the player who was high-sticked to draw the power play, but it appeared he could have returned while the power play was still active but did not.
- The Vegas Golden Knights can now close out the series with a win Monday at T-Mobile Arena. Game time is slated for 7:30 pm PT.