Alex Tuch scored the tie-breaking goal 1:34 into the third period, and the Vegas Golden Knights rallied from an early two-goal deficit to eliminate Chicago with a 4-3 win in Game 5 of their first-round playoff series on Tuesday night.
Max Pacioretty scored in the closing seconds of the first period and Mark Stone scored less than a minute into the second as the Golden Knights quickly erased Chicago’s early 2-0 advantage. Alec Martinez scored on a power play midway through the second period after Patrick Kane had given Chicago a 3-2 lead.
Robin Lehner made 23 saves including a couple of big stops in the closing seconds, and improved to 8-1 since being acquired by the Golden Knights from Chicago back in February.
WATCH | Golden Knights beat Chicago to win 1st-round series:
Chicago’s unlikely postseason run came to an end despite controlling most of the first period. Jonathan Toews scored his fifth of the postseason and Alex DeBrincat scored at 18:19 of the first to give his team a 2-0 lead.
Corey Crawford, who made 48 saves in a masterful Game 4 performance to keep Chicago alive, made 35 saves in Game 5. But Crawford couldn’t withstand a continued onslaught of pressure by the Golden Knights, capped by Tuch’s goal, using his size to hold off defenceman Adam Boqvist and score the deciding goal.
Chicago’s strong start negated
Chicago started strong looking to keep going after trailing in the series 3-0. Toews poked a rebound past Lehner midway through the first period to give Chicago the early lead, and DeBrincat finished a beautiful build up at 18:19 for the two-goal advantage. DeBrincat was the recipient, but it was Connor Murphy’s spin and feed to Dylan Strome that set up DeBrincat’s second goal of the postseason.
But the potency of the Golden Knights’ offence quickly responded. Pacioretty collected Brayden McNabb’s deflected pass at the side of the net and scored his first of the playoffs with 31 seconds left in the period. And less than a minute into the second, Stone tipped William Karlsson’s pass over Crawford’s glove and the Golden Knights were even.
Kane scored his 52nd career playoff goal, but Martinez’s goal was the first scored on the power play by Vegas in the series. It snapped Chicago’s streak of 14 straight power plays killed off, dating back to its qualifying series win over Edmonton.