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Golden Knights oust top-seeded Avalanche, finalize NHL semifinals

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury recorded 30 saves in a Game 6 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday in Paradise, Nev. File Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI
Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury recorded 30 saves in a Game 6 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday in Paradise, Nev. File Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

June 11 (UPI) -- Six different players scored to lead the Vegas Golden Knights to a Game 6 win and elimination of the top-seeded Colorado Avalanche in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Max Pacioretty and Alex Pietrangelo each tallied a goal and assist in the 6-3 win Thursday at T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada. Defenseman Sea Theodore assisted two scores in the victory.

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"Our depth is the identity of this team, the number of contributions we are getting. ... You don't beat a team like Colorado without that," Golden Knights coach Pete DeBoer told reporters.

"We are the sum of our parts. We don't have the superstar power that they do."

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With the win, the Golden Knights finalized the Stanley Cup Playoffs Semifinals field. They advanced to face the Montreal Canadiens in their next best-of-seven series, which starts Monday in Paradise.

The Avalanche, who led the NHL with 39 regular-season wins, won the first two games of the series. The Golden Knights responded with four-consecutive victories to advance to the semifinals.

"It was important for us to treat each game differently," Pietrangelo told reporters. "Game 1 didn't go the way we wanted it to. Game 2, we thought we played well, but it didn't go the way we wanted it to.

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"Sometimes you just have to take a step back, find a positive thing and continue to build off that."

Defenseman Devon Toews got the Avalanche off to a terrific start in Game 6 with the fastest goal to start a playoff game in franchise history.

Left wing Brandon Saad tapped the puck to Nathan MacKinnon through traffic at the start of that play. The Avalanche left wing then skated up the ice and sent a pass to the left side to Toews.

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The defenseman used a casual stroke to slap a shot past Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury just 23 seconds into the game.

Golden Knights defenseman Nick Holden answered less than a minute later. Holden's initial shot was blocked during that sequence. Golden Knights right wing Reilly Smith collected the puck near the Avalanche net and fired a pass back to Holden.

The Golden Knights defenseman blasted a long shot from the blue line to beat Avalanche netminder Philipp Grubauer and tie the score 1:15 into the game.

Center William Karlsson added another Golden Knights score with 4:54 remaining in the first period. Avalanche right wing Mikko Rantanen netted a game-tying score 3:47 into the second period.

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Right wing Keegan Kolesar gave the Golden Knights a 3-2 lead with another score with 5:33 left in the second period.

Left wing Andre Burakovsky answered with another game-tying score less than three minutes later, but that would be the Avalanche's final goal.

Pietrangelo, Pacioretty and Alex Tuch teamed up for the go-ahead score with 18 seconds left in the bridge period. The goal was the first of three-unanswered scores the Golden Knights used to steal momentum.

Pacioretty recovered a loose puck on the right side boards to spark the sequence. He then sent a pass to Tuch. The right wing launched a shot, which went wide of the net and bounced off the boards behind the goal. Pietrangelo skated in and recovered the puck near the right post.

He fired a quick wrist shot to beat Grubauer on his glove side. Left wing William Carrier and Pacioretty each scored goals in the third period to ice the victory.

Fleury saved 30 of 33 shots in the win. Grubauer saved 17 of 22 shots for the Avalanche.

"Even though we were down 2-0 in the series, I didn't see or feel any panic on the team," Fleury told reporters. "I think it showed. ... Everybody contributed to our success."

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The Golden Knights face the Canadiens in Game 1 of their Stanley Cup Playoffs Semifinals series at 9 p.m. EDT Monday at T-Mobile Arena.

The winner of the series battles the New York Islanders or Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2021 Stanley Cup Final.

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