Well, disaster did happen, but it was the Colorado Avalanche who were left disheveled, beaten and bruised.
After the first two games, at home, by a 10-3 aggregate score, the Avs dropped four straight to the Golden Knights by an 18-8 aggregate, including 6-3 in Game 6 on Thursday night.
“I don’t think there was a person in the hockey world, when we were down 2-0 (in the series), that would predict we would finish this off in six at home tonight,” Vegas head coach Peter DeBoer said. “There was a lot more talk about us being swept, embarrassed, and could we even win a game? We’ve got a group with a lot of pride and they just blocked out the noise and went to work. What a night.”
The Avs entered the playoffs as the President’s Cup trophy winner.
“I’m real proud of the group in there, I’m proud of the season we had,” Colorado’s Gabriel Landeskog said. “Obviously, you’re never really going to be satisfied, never going to be happy until you will that final game of the season. So, it stinks.”
Marc-Andre Fleury made 30 saves on Thursday to get the win.
“We’ve got a lot of guys that buy into their roles. It’s nice to see them get rewarded,” the Golden Knights’ Mark Stone said. “Those guys have been soldiers for us all year. For those guys to come through … we had so many guys come in and out of the lineup throughout this series, and that’s what it takes to beat a team like that.”
Alex Pietrangelo potted one goal and added an assist for Vegas in the win.
“It’s a winning culture that’s been built since the first year. Different guys have come in here, and the culture has stayed,” Pietrangelo said. “It started here since Day One and continues to be the same thing.”
Vegas now faces the Montreal Canadiens in the semifinals, starting Monday.
Mikko Rantanen had a goal for the Avs in the middle frame when he tied the game at 2-2 and gave the impression Colorado was ready to take control of the game.
“It’s tough to find any (positives) because nobody wants to play just a good regular season and lose in the second round,” Rantanen said. “I know all of us wanted to win, that’s what we were pushing for. So right now it’s tough to find positives.”
The game stayed knotted at 2-2 until Keegan Kolesar scored in the 15th minute of the second period to give Vegas the lead, 3-2.
Just about two and half minutes later Andre Burakovsky tied the game again for the Avs, 3-3.
Pietrangelo’s goal with 18 seconds left in the second period really ended the night and the series. Vegas took a 4-3 lead into intermission and came out in the third period looking to lock down the Avs offense.
The two teams traded blows much of the night with Devon Toews giving the Avs an early 1-0 lead.
Nick Holden tied the game, 1-1, 52 seconds later.
William Karlsson gave the Golden Knights their first lead, 2-1, at 15:06 of the first.
“It’s so hard to get to this point,” DeBoer said. “Everyone talks about winning the Stanley Cup … this is hard. It’s hard to win a series, it’s hard to make the playoffs in this league. What these men here have accomplished is unreal.”
Philipp Grubauer made 17 saves in the loss.