Alex Tuch drew 4-44 in extra time as the Vegas Golden Knights overtook the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 to win the Round Robin in Edmonton on Saturday.
The Golden Knights, who made a coaching change with the team at No. 7 in the West in January and brought in Pete DeBoer to replace Gerard Gallant, took a 3-0 lead in the round robin, beating Dallas and St. Louis before defeating Colorado , a first-round matchup with the No. 8 Chicago Blackhawks, a team that finished regular season 12 in the west before unbalancing Edmonton in the qualifying round.
Vegas, which reached the Stanley Cup final in 2018, received two goals from Jonathan Marchessault, including one on a penalty kick and another record from Nicolas Roy when the Knights went through an undefeated tournament.
“We came here to take care of every challenge ahead. We did a good job,”
Goalkeeper Robin Lehner made 32 saves en route to victory and set up a unique streak against the Blackhawks, who traded Lehner to Vegas before the sport paused in March. Several Blackhawks watched the Knights victory from the stands the day after the Oilers were eliminated in their home stadium.
Tuch scored the winning goal with a shot over the shoulder of Avalanche goalkeeper Philipp Grubauer. The Avalanche finished the game 1:02 in regulation when JT Compher put the puck. It was Tuch’s third goal in the round robin game.
“Feels pretty good,” said Tuch. “Honestly, getting the first seed was a big goal. I didn’t care who got it as long as we did.”
Joonas Donskoi and Nathan MacKinnon scored a goal for the Avalanche. Grubauer was in the net against Pavel Francouz, who stopped 27 shots in a win against Dallas on Wednesday. The veteran Grubauer was solid at saving 22 shots.
Colorado’s Pierre-Edouard Bellemare had a runaway chance against his former team late in the third round, only to send the shot high.
The intensity was raised to another level in a second period with four goals. The rampage began when Marchessault shot a power play shot past Grubauer. MacKinnon was in the box for an unsportsmanlike call after expressing displeasure over an icing call.
MacKinnon, a candidate for the league’s MVP honors along with the Lady Byng Trophy, was atoned for losing his cool by combining the game with a spinning backhand shot at the power play.
Vegas jumped forward again when Roy tapped a shot with heavy traffic in front of the net. The tour would take less than two minutes before Donskoy tied it up.
Colorado had a golden chance in the first phase during an extended 5v3 power game. Mikko Rantanen had the best chance to score, but his shot was torn out of the air by Lehner’s glove.
With the defeat, Colorado finished second in the round robin and will face Arizona in the first round.
“We talk like we’ve lost and our game was bad. I don’t see it that way. I don’t see it that way at all,” said avalanche coach Jared Bednar. “If we expected this to be easy, we’re in the wrong tournament. It’ll be work. It’s a really good ice hockey team. I’m not really that disappointed.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.