The Vegas Golden Knights returned home to continue their second-round series with the Colorado Avalanche on Friday. T-Mobile Arena was at 100 percent capacity for the first time since March of 2020 for Game 3 of the series, a must-win contest for the Knights.
The Golden Knights had to bounce back after dropping both games in Denver, and they played very well once again. Vegas fell behind but was able to make an amazing comeback with two goals in just 45 seconds late in the third period.
Marc-Andre Fleury was in net for the second straight game. Fleury didn’t have a perfect game but played a crucial role in the comeback victory with several key stops throughout the game, especially in the third period.
The game got out to a choppy start, as there were a lot of whistles in the early going. However, the Golden Knights were off to a very good start, as they spent a lot of time in the offensive zone.
That momentum led to a Vegas power play when Gabriel Landeskog slashed Max Pacioretty 125 feet from his net, but the Avalanche were able to completely stymie the Golden Knights’ man advantage.
The Avalanche pushed back throughout the period, which included a beautiful breakout from Cale Makar, but Fleury stood tall.
The Golden Knights went back to a power play after William Carrier was cross-checked into the net, but an enthusiastic power play was shut down by Philipp Grubauer, who had another strong performance.
It was Vegas’ best first period in a while, and it was a continuation of the team’s dominant play from the second and third periods of Game 2.
The Knights outshot Colorado 14-3 and held a 21-12 edge in Corsi at 5-on-5, but the game remained scoreless after one.
The Golden Knights picked up right where they left off in the second period and were finally able to cash in at the 4:38 mark.
William Karlsson kicked the puck to his stick and tucked it past Grubauer on a rebound off a Alex Pietrangelo point shot.
It was the Knights’ first lead of the series, but it didn’t last very long.
In fact, the Avalanche answered 1:29 later after a juicy rebound off Fleury’s glove allowed Carl Soderberg to even things up at 1-1. It was Soderberg’s first game of the series, and the initial shot came off the stick of Pierre-Edouard Bellemare.
Bellemare’s shot was one Fleury should have had, and it was a tough goal to give up when T-Mobile Arena was absolutely rocking.
The game began to open up, as Fleury had to make a great stop and Nic Roy hit the post at the other end.
The Golden Knights went down a man after Shea Theodore deflected a puck destined for Nathan MacKinnon over the glass for delay of game. Vegas was able to kill it off with the help of a massive save from Fleury, the only shot of the man advantage.
After the kill, Pacioretty was stoned by Grubauer on a breakaway chance, which rounded off the period.
Early in the third, the Knights gave Colorado its second power play of the game. This time, it didn’t take the Avalanche long.
In fact, it took just eight seconds for the Avs to convert, and it was Mikko Rantanen once again who beat Fleury to take the lead.
The game started to accelerate at a ridiculous pace, as both teams had great chances, which included a post for Colorado. Neither team was able to capitalize, though, as both goaltenders stood tall.
The Knights were desperate to score. With the season on the line, Vegas finally broke through at 14:42 of the third.
It was Jonathan Marchessault on Vegas’ 37 shot of the game. He got a step on the defensemen and shot one off Grubauer’s backside to bank it in.
Just 45 seconds later, Nick Holden rifled one to the slot, and Pacioretty made an excellent hand-eye play to deflect the puck down and past Grubauer. The Golden Knights took the lead in an amazing turn of events, and T-Mobile Arena was absolutely rocking.
The Avalanche pulled Grubauer for the extra attacker with 1:53 remaining in regulation. Fleury absolutely stunned Rantenen, who was left wide open, from point-blank range with 45 seconds remaining to keep the lead intact.
Vegas once again dominated the play, but this time they got the desired result, unlike Game 2. It was the first time the Knights trailed 2-0 in a series, but Vegas was able to escape narrowly to get back into the series and keep its season alive.
The Knights and Avalanche Vegas will play a pivotal Game 4 on Sunday evening before the series heads back to Colorado for Game 5.