By defeating the Colorado Avalanche Saturday in their Stanley Cup Qualifying round robin contest, the Vegas Golden Knights secured their spot as number one seed in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The top four seeds in each conference were or will be decided by the round robin tournament and the Golden Knights went 3-0-0, ending it all with a 4-3 overtime win over Colorado.
Alex Tuch scored the winner with 16 seconds to go in OT.
The Golden Knights will face off against the Chicago Blackhawks in the next round of the playoffs. Colorado, now the second seed in the Western Conference, will face the Arizona Coyotes. The Blackhawks defeated the Edmonton Oilers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs Qualifying Round, while the Coyotes defeated the Predators to earn their berth.
Goalie Robin Lehner made 32 saves for Vegas in the win, while Jonathan Marchessault had two goals. Nicolas Roy also scored Saturday.
J.T. Compher, Joonas Donskoi, and Nathan MacKinnon scored for the Avalanche in their losing effort, while goalie Philipp Grubauer made 22 stops. Colorado leaves the round robin 2-0-1.
“We came here to take care of every challenge ahead of us. We did a good job,” Marchessault said. “We wanted the first seed after the round robin, and we got it done. So I think it’s pretty positive. We’re really happy where our game is at as a team.”
Marchessault scored his first in the second period and added another on a penalty shot against Grubauer.
Lehner had the start over Marc-Andre Fleury and will face his former team in the next round. The Golden Knights acquired the netminder in a trade with the Blackhawks in February.
As for the Avalanche, they went with the veteran goalie Grubauer over Pavel Francouz, who earned a Wednesday shutout over the Dallas Stars.
But for Colorado now, it’s all about what’s next.
”We’re talking like we lost and that our game was poor. I don’t see it that way. I don’t see it that way at all,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “If we were expecting this thing to be easy, we’re in the wrong tournament. This is going to be work. That’s a real good hockey team. I’m not really that disappointed.”