If there’s one lingering criticism of the Golden Knights in their transient however profitable postseason historical past, it’s their incapability to shut out a sequence.
That lack of a knockout punch practically proved expensive final season in the bubble and once more in the course of the first spherical in opposition to Minnesota, which pushed the sequence to seven video games.
The Knights can’t afford to swing and miss Thursday after they look to shut out the Colorado Avalanche in Game 6 of the West Division remaining at T-Mobile Arena.
“We know the task at hand and how difficult it’s going to be,” coach Pete DeBoer mentioned. “I think Mark Stone said it (Tuesday) night, we all know the last one’s always the toughest. Especially against a team like this. Excited about the home crowd. We’re going to need that extra boost of energy.”
After falling behind 2-0 in the sequence and in Game 5, the Knights are in position to eliminate the Presidents’ Trophy winner following Stone’s objective 50 seconds into time beyond regulation Tuesday in Denver.
However, potential series-clinching video games haven’t been the Knights’ energy since their inaugural season after they wasted no time sending Los Angeles, San Jose and Winnipeg to the golf course.
The Knights are 3-8 in their previous 11 closeout video games, together with a 6-2 victory over Minnesota in Game 7 on May 28. They had been unable to maintain a 3-1 sequence lead in opposition to San Jose in 2019 and practically squandered a 3-1 benefit in opposition to Vancouver in the Western Conference semifinal final season earlier than profitable Game 7.
Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury had 5 straight losses with an opportunity to clinch a sequence earlier than he shut down the Wild in the deciding recreation.
“I’m a huge believer in leadership in your room and experience, having been there before,” DeBoer mentioned. “We’re very lucky to have clearly Mark Stone and every thing he brings, however the two guys that I believe additionally convey a ton to the desk there are Alex Pietrangelo and Alec Martinez.
“Both Stanley Cup winners. Both have been there and seen almost every situation in the playoffs and have a real good feel for what to say at the right time and messaging in those moments. We’re real fortunate to have those guys in the room.”
Should the Knights advance to the ultimate 4 of the postseason for the third time in 4 seasons, North Division champion Montreal is ready in the Stanley Cup semifinals.
To get there, they’ll have to proceed standing up the Avalanche on the blue line and forcing Colorado into turnovers with strain on the forecheck.
The Avalanche adjusted in Game 5, as coach Jared Bednar modified ahead traces. Colorado owned vital benefits in scoring possibilities (29-15) and high-danger possibilities (13-6), in accordance to NaturalStatTrick.com.
But the Knights had been ready to face up to the push and steal home-ice benefit as Fleury got here up with a number of key stops, together with a game-saver on J.T. Compher early in time beyond regulation.
(*6*) Bednar mentioned. “I’ve seen our guys step up in big moments now for four years, and none bigger than this one here (Thursday) night.”
The Knights have the final change at house and doubtless will match the Stone-Chandler Stephenson-Max Pacioretty line in opposition to heart Nathan MacKinnon and his wingers, which labored effectively in Games 3 and 4.
MacKinnon doesn’t have some extent in the previous three outings and has gone 4 straight and not using a objective.
Colorado hasn’t lost 4 straight video games all season, however this could be the Knights’ finest probability to clinch the sequence.
Game 7 can be Saturday at Ball Arena in Denver, the place the Avalanche received 13 straight and had been 20-0-1 together with the common season earlier than Tuesday’s loss.
“I think Colorado has found another level here, and that’s not going away,” DeBoer mentioned. “They’re going to be at the same level (Thursday). This isn’t going to look like Game 3 or 4. It’s going to look more like (Tuesday) night, and we’re going to have to find a way.”