The Vegas Golden Knights were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Montreal Canadiens, losing 3-2 in overtime in Game 6 of the best-of-7 Stanley Glass Semifinals at Montreal on Thursday.
The Golden Knights, who lost to the Dallas Stars in five games in the Western Conference Final last season, led the NHL in regular-season wins (40), tied the Colorado Avalanche for most regular-season points (82) and dropped to the Presidents' Trophy to them due to the regulation-wins tiebreaker (35-30). Vegas defeated the Minnesota Wild in seven games in the first round and Colorado in six online games in the second round before coming up short against Montreal.
Marc-Andre Fleury is a finalist for the Vezina Trophy voted as the best goalie in the NHL in the regular season and for the most part was outstanding in the playoffs. But with the Golden Knights on the verge of taking a 2-1 series lead against the Canadiens, he misplayed the puck behind his net late in Game 3, leading to the tying goal with 1:55 left in the third period. Vegas went on to lose 3-2 in overtime, fall behind 2-1 in the series and chase it from then on. That was the biggest mistake of many. Too often, the Golden Knights were frustrated by the Canadiens' defensive structure, turned over the puck and fed their quick-strike offense.
Vegas took a 3-1 series business lead in the 1st round, then lost Games 5 and 6 to Minnesota. That meant the Golden Knights had to survive Video game 7 to advance, and had one day to recover for the next circular. It showed when they dropped 7-1 to the Avalanche in Game 1. They fell behind 2-0 in that series. Though they won four straight and experienced three days to recuperate before the semifinals, there seemed to be a cumulative effect.
Owner Bill Foley's original objective was to make the playoffs in three seasons and win the Stanley Cup in six. Not only have the Golden Knights made the playoffs each of their four seasons, they have reached the 3rd round three times and produced the Glass Final in their inaugural season of 2017-18. The only reason this is a disappointment is usually that they have set the bar so high. They still possess two seasons to meet Foley's championship timeline.