Jonathan Marchessault scored three goals to lead the Vegas Golden Knights to a 5-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche Sunday night, evening the best-of-seven Honda West Division Final at two games apiece.
Brandon Saad opened up the scoring for Colorado just 1:50 into the first period, but after that, it was all Vegas in another dominating performance.
Marchessault scored his first goal at 7:07 to tie the game. Just over a minute into the second period Max Pacioretty netted the eventual game-winner, followed by two more from Marchessault to complete the hat trick.
Patrick Brown wrapped up the scoring for the 5-1 final.
- Man, the Colorado Avalanche looks like they don’t know what hit them. Vegas has really changed the tenor of the series by taking the pace to the next level and absolutely closing off the neutral zone where they were completely roasted in Game One.
- Vegas has really improved on the forecheck and zone entry portions of the game too. They struggled against Minnesota in this area and are finally getting it going to tremendous effect.
- Marc-Andre Fleury has continued to make the big saves when they need the most. Fleury has been a rock all season long and that doesn’t look like it’s going to change any time soon. If he keeps this up, the Golden Knights are in a prime position to come all the way back in this series.
- The line of Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson and Reilly Smith has really come alive the last two games. I’ll be honest, I was not enamored with them so far in the playoffs, but in the last two games, they’ve made a massive impact. Consider that the Golden Knights have struggled at times to really mount offensive pressure in this playoffs and it’s an even bigger relief to see the scoring among the top-six forward group really coming to the fore.
- Alex Pietrangelo has been getting better and better since his return from injury. It’s a combination of physically getting back into shape, getting the system down pat, and really finding his game within the context of where he fits on this Vegas Golden Knights roster. It’s not just scoring, although he’s offensively talented. It’s the hockey sense. His ability to avoid the pressure of a forecheck, to sense where the open space will be, to find players on passes that stretch the attack with speed through the neutral zone. Still don’t think Pietrangelo has made a big difference? Look at the St. Louis Blues. They were a completely different team without him and are now making tee times.