Since losing 5-1 in the opening of the NHL play-offs in the Western Conference against the Winnipeg Jets, Las Vegas has not trembled. On Thursday night, the Nevada franchise qualified at home for the second round, thanks to its 4-1 victory against the Jets.
Chandler Stephenson scored on his first shot just 50 seconds into the game to take an early lead. The Golden Knights then broke the game by scoring three times in the first nine minutes of the second period. Mark Stone first made it 2-0 after 40 seconds in the second half, before William Karlsson drove the point home four minutes later. Stephenson then offered himself a double. Opposite, the Jets’ only scorer is Kyle Connor. Winnipeg fell on a great Laurent Brossoit. The Vegas keeper finished with 30 saves.
The Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Frenchman Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, (the only French player to play in the NHL this season), finalist last year (4-2 defeat against Colorado) won at the Toronto Maple Leafs (4-2 ), thus avoiding elimination by reducing the gap in the series to 3-2.
Tied after a lively first period, the Lightning took control shortly after four minutes of play in the second period, thanks in particular to Michael Eyssimont. On the Tampa side, Anthony Cirelli also scored a goal (and delivered an assist), as did Nicholas Paul and Alex Killorn in an empty goal. Everyone is now wondering if Toronto will ward off bad luck. The team, which walks regularly in the regular season, often collapses in the first round of the play-offs. So much so that the franchise has not seen the second round since 2004…
The defeated Rangers
In Newark, the Devils won 4-0 against the New York Rangers, increasing their lead to 3-2 in this series. The Devils opened the scoring after just 39 seconds through Ondrej Palat. Erik Haula signs the 2-0 in the 24th, before Dawson Mercer’s 3-0 twenty minutes later at 4 against 5. Finally, Nico Hischier delivered his 3rd assist for Haula’s 4-0 scored in an empty net at the 55th. After losing their first two home games, the Devils are just one win away from qualifying for the second round of the Eastern Conference play-offs.