Nathan McKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog scored twice, while the Colorado Avalanche made quick work of Vegas with their pace, defeating the Golden Knights 7–1 in a skirmish-filled Game 1 of their second-round playoff series.
Denver – Nathan McKinnon and the Book on the Colorado Avalanche: They’re Extremely Fast.
An overlooked chapter in that book: When push comes to shove, they can also turn physically.
McKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog scored twice and the comfortably resting Avalanche made quick work of Vegas with their pace, beating the Golden Knights 7–1 on Sunday night in a skirmish game of their second-round playoff series. in 1.
What started as Colorado’s passing clinch – running for a 5-0 lead – spiraled into one battle after another. There were a total of 79 penalty minutes between the teams, including four 10-minute malpractice calls in the third period and a match penalty on Ryan Reeves of Vegas, who was also awarded an attempted injury penalty.
“I don’t think you can have that physicality to be honest with yourself,” Landeskog said. “Reeves is on a mission to hurt someone in the third and that’s what he goes out and does. I’m sure the league will see it, with the intention of injuring it.”
Young defender Kel Makar scored a goal and three assists, while Brandon Saad and Miko Rentanen also scored for the Avalanche, who scored an extra blast after a nearly week break after a four-game sweep of St. did.
“Everyone took it seriously, brakes. There was no holiday,” McKinnon said. “Everyone was ready to go and we got off to a great start.”
William Carlson scored the only goal for Vegas. Robin Lehner made an astonishing start in the nets and blocked 30 shots in his first appearance in these playoffs. He made the move for Marc-Andre Fleury, who was on goal for all seven games as the Golden Knights eliminated Minnesota on Friday.
“The playoffs are about having small memories and getting ready for the next one,” said Vegas coach Pete DeBoer. “The bottom line was that we were not good enough tonight. He was very good.”
Game 2 is in Denver on Wednesday.
Rantanen got things going with the first period goal to activate a crowd that was recently expanded to 10,500 fans (official attendance was 10,489). He saw Philippe Grubauer finish with 24 saves and 11 Colorado players to record an assist.
After this there was a lot of pushing and shoving.
Things turned bad soon after Mattias Janmark took a big hit from AVS defenseman Ryan Graves at 8:26 of the second period. A shoulder-to-chest check from Graves dropped Jenmark into the boards and helped get him out of the ice. He didn’t come back and DeBoer had no updates.
The Golden Knights were not very happy with the shot. William Carrier later took one harsh penalty on Makar and then on Graves.
“Defense player. It’s a blind side interference,” said Vegas captain Mark Stone. “Obviously didn’t like the hit.”
It only got thicker in the third period. Max Pacioretti scored a hefty penalty on AVS defenseman Samuel Girard as the Vegas forward turned his shoulder with 16:13 left. The collision led to shoving and shoving.
Later, Reeves was assessed a harsh penalty for toppling Graves, setting up a scuffle that resulted in a call of misconduct on Saad, Valerie Nichushkin, Zach Whitecloud and Alex Pietrangelo.
Makar said, “We knew they would play physically and would have to be ready for it. It could happen in the next game, but we’ll be ready for it.”
Vegas drew 49 penalty minutes, while Colorado was issued 30 minutes.
Despite the one-sided series opener, it was an evenly matched series, as both teams won four games against the other during the regular season. They also tied for the most points in the league, but the Avalanche earned the coveted Presidents Trophy – along with home-ice advantage throughout the post-season – courtesy of a tiebreaker (more regulation wins).
“It’s going to be one matchup and one heck of a series, that’s for sure,” said Vegas forward Alex Touch.
McKinnon has scored eight goals since the season. According to research by NHL Stats, he is the seventh player in league history to score at least eight goals in his first five matches.
Rantenon has scored at least one point in a Colorado-record 15 straight playoff games. He also had an assistant.
Avalanche D’Erik Johnson (upper body) skated on Sunday. He hasn’t played since leaving the game on 30 January. … AVS F Nazem Qadri served his third of an eight-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head during the Blues Series. … Avs F Sampo Ranta made his NHL debut. Ranta turned 21 on Monday.
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