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Perfection Sends Golden Knights To Western Conference Finals

The San Jose Sharks had to have Game 6 to continue their season. The Golden Knights one the other hand knew that even if they faltered in Game 6, they still had Game 7 at T-Mobile Arena in their back pocket. The Sharks were desperate, they had to have this game, and Vegas simply didn’t give them a chance to take it.

It started in the 1st with Marc-Andre Fleury. He was a brick wall shutting down every great opportunity the Sharks had.

We rely on Flower to make a lot of great saves, he’s a spectacular player. When he’s out there hootin’ and hollerin’ and yellin’ and having fun it really calms our guys down and it gets our group going that much more. -Nate Schmidt to NBCSN

He needed some help from the posts a few times, but all in all, Fleury was able to help the Golden Knights through the tough 1st period on the road and send the game to intermission tied.

That is when Vegas took control of the game and refused to let go until they had fired a puck into an empty net and clinched their spot on the next round.

Think of a player who didn’t play well in Game 6. Yeah, that’s right, there’s not one. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The 2nd period was a four-line, three-pairing display of the brand of hockey that had the Golden Knights one game away from the Western Conference Finals in the first place. They were buzzing on the forecheck, they were flying through the neutral zone, they were breaking out of their own zone with ease using speed and simplicity, and when the chances came to score, they didn’t miss them (even though it seemed like Schmidt did on the game’s second goal). The game stayed at 5-on-5 for the entirety of the period, and Vegas feasted on a Pacific Division foe like they have all season.Then came the all-important close-out period. It’s one thing to get a lead in a game or a series, it’s another to get the lead in a game which can end your opponent’s season, but it’s a completely different animal trying to officially stomp the life out of that season. Coming off the three-goal barrage the Sharks put up late in Game 5, it was to be expected that the Golden Knights were going to have to withstand everything San Jose had in them to hang on to Game 6 and win the series.

Instead, it was the Golden Knights who controlled play for the entire period. In fact, they won in every offensive statistic in a period in which they were supposed to be clinging to a two-goal lead. 16-10 on shot attempts, 14-7 on scoring chances, 6-3 on high danger chances, and most importantly 1-0 on the scoreboard. It was a clinic in how a hockey team should play with a lead.

I think we did a great job of limiting the opportunities in the last two periods, they didn’t have a whole lot of chances, but when they did, we had the guy back there to make the saves. -Schmidt on NBCSN

After giving the Sharks 25 total power plays in the first five games, and at least four in every game, the Golden Knights cleaned it up and committed just two penalties in the game (and one was a questionable call). They were the better team at 5-on-5 all season and most of the series, but they couldn’t keep the game there. Tonight, they did.

It may sound ridiculous, but that was a nearly perfect effort on the road in a closeout game from the Golden Knights. When they needed goaltending, they got it. When they needed goals, they got them. When they needed to hold the lead, they did it.

It goes down as a 3-0 shutout and the fourth win of a series to reach the halfway point of the ultimate goal, but what it does more than just advance the Golden Knights to the next round is it breeds even more confidence in an already confident team.

There’s nothing this team isn’t capable of, and they know it. Now we wait to see who’s next, and the new obstacles the doubters will say the Golden Knights can’t overcome.

Eight down, eight to go. See you in the Western Conference Finals.

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15 Comments

  1. Brian

    WOW—what a game, what a Team, what a season “so far”. And how about Reaves—-what a BEAST of a game from him after watching how many from the press box. Great effort and great results.
    And THEE most amazing thing about yesterday…..?? Kenny on ice !!

    #CUPIN1

  2. Rob

    Sweeeet

    Gold-en Kniiiights
    Western Conference Finals
    Never seemed so good
    So good so good

    #NightyKnight SJS

  3. Rob

    Just want to drop a note about a revelation I had recently.

    Been mulling over the season and the debates about why the Knights are so good.

    After watching Tatar struggle, something became clear. I know Tatar is a talented player and a fast player and a smart player, so why does he look bad out there? This team is not great because of talent or skill sets. This team is great because they can feel the game. On nights when they are in sync, nobody can beat them.

    Doesn’t matter how many superstars you have, you can’t beat this team when they are on the same page. Ken has said when they play their best they win. That’s true, because at their best, they aren’t just playing the game, they are feeling it.

    They know where they need to be and what the other guy is going to do. They move and play as one big unit of 4 lines going full tilt. Every guy is there fighting for every other guy. Ego is not a factor, they only care about the team and I genuinely believe they care about this city.

    Tatar may eventually gel, but it will only be when he becomes a part of the unit and not just a talented player. If he does find his groove… wow.

    GO KNIGHTS GO
    #CupIn1

    • Diane

      Good point about Tatar, Rob, but why was Reaves able to gel with his line? He looked perfectly in sync last night. Do you think it’s just a difference in roles or personal expectations?

      • Rob

        Absolutely roles. Tatar was expected to generate offense. Reaves is supposed to just not cost us anything and put the fear of pain into the minds of the other players.

      • Slr1982

        Reaves is a defensive player, playing on the Checking line. It is much easier to get defensively rather than the timing of passes and speed of other players.

  4. Jeff

    I’m afraid the ride ends soon. The league is getting pounded over a first year team doing this. I don’t know how the league can endure. It really is starting to become a black eye everywhere out side of Vegas to the NHL. I don’t agree but it’s reality.

    • john

      what are you talking about? do you have any articles or quotes to back this up? Many other teams fans are whining about it but Vegas played the hand it was dealt and played it very well.

      • Jeff

        Go read the comments on sportsnet

      • Jeff

        I don’t dis agree with you btw…..the Canadian fans are up in arms and complaining at the top of their lungs.

      • Slr1982

        Let’s see…each team got 16+ million dollars, only lost 1 player, Knights sold out Stadiums all over the League this season….yeah like they hurt the League/other teams.

      • Jeff

        Here’s a few of 100’s of posts just after the last game and this has been going on for months. Think about something….there were 4 reviewed goals(I think) in the last series and not one went our way, especially game two which easily shove been a goal.

        “There you go Toronto – just pony up $500 million and you too could get a Cup. What have you been waiting 52 years for?”

        “Stanley cup for Sale. Stanley cup for sale. Throw in your 500 or 600 million. We guarantee a screaming fan base and General Managers who will not fail you. They will pick your pockets on anything you leave unprotected. This is the new age of the NHL.”

        “The NHL is an absolute joke, a 1st year team making it to the conference finals, either the whole expansion draft system needs to be adjusted or just about every GM is clueless”

        “So if Seattle lands an expansion team, are we going to be watching Vegas and them in the western final for years to come? I was for the Vegas expansion, and actually cheering them in the beginning of the season. But something just does not seem right with this scenario. I don’t care what anyone says. They can’t be that good. I don’t care who or what is coaching and managing this team. Bonus for coughing up 500 million?‘

        “For Sale: 1 Stanley Cup. $500,000,000.00. Firm.‘

  5. Slr1982

    I disagree……the only reason this ends is if the Knights succumb to playoff pressure, another team gets the breaks. They are as talented as a group as anyone, definitely no superstars (yet). Either of these series could have gone the other way, that’s how close these teams are. This isn’t the League getting pounded or chastised, it is success for the entire League, its fans and the growing popularity. Nothing about this has been smoke and mirrors or cheaply achieved.

  6. The single bad item in this whole amazing story is that my wife has to put up with at least a couple more weeks of playoff beard.

    She’s a trooper. LOL

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