LAS VEGAS -- The Vegas Golden Knights eliminated the Colorado Avalanche with a 6-3 win in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Second Round at T-Mobile Arena on Thursday.
The Golden Knights, who won the final four games of the series, will play the Montreal Canadiens in the Stanley Cup Semifinals. It is the third time in its four seasons Vegas has advanced to the third round of the playoffs.
"I don't think there was a person in the hockey world, when we were down 2-0 (in the series), that would predict we would finish this off in six at home tonight," Vegas coach Peter DeBoer said. "There was a lot more talk about us being swept, embarrassed, and could we even win a game? We've got a group with a lot of pride and they just blocked out the noise and went to work. What a night."
Alex Pietrangelo had a goal and assist for the Golden Knights, the No. 2 seed in the Honda West Division. Marc-Andre Fleury made 30 saves for his 89th playoff win, moving him past Billy Smith and Ed Belfour for fourth in NHL history.
"It's a winning culture that's been built since the first year. Different guys have come in here, and the culture has stayed," Pietrangelo said. "It started here since Day One and continues to be the same thing."
Video: VGK@COL, Gm6: Toews, Holden score in 52-second span
Nathan MacKinnon had two assists for the Avalanche, the No. 1 seed in the West who won the Presidents' Trophy with the best record in the NHL. Philipp Grubauer allowed five goals on 22 shots.
"I'm real proud of the group in there, I'm proud of the season we had," Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog said. "Obviously, you're never really going to be satisfied, never going to be happy until you will that final game of the season. So, it stinks."
It's the third consecutive season the Avalanche have been eliminated in the second round. They have not reached the third round since 2001-02.
"It's tough to find any (positives) because nobody wants to play just a good regular season and lose in the second round," Colorado forward Mikko Rantanen said. "I know all of us wanted to win, that's what we were pushing for. So right now it's tough to find positives."
Devon Toews scored 23 seconds into the first period to give the Avalanche a 1-0 lead. He received a pass on a rush from MacKinnon and shot glove side.
Nick Holden scored 52 seconds later to tie it 1-1. His soft wrist shot from the left point beat Grubauer five-hole after the goalie was caught looking the wrong way for the puck.
William Karlsson gave the Golden Knights a 2-1 lead at 15:06 on a one-timer off a cross-ice pass from Alec Martinez.
Rantanen tied it 2-2 at 3:47 of the second period with a power-play goal, but Keegan Kolesar answered for Vegas to make it 3-2 at 14:27 when he deflected Pietrangelo's shot from the point.
"We've got a lot of guys that buy into their roles. It's nice to see them get rewarded," Golden Knights captain Mark Stone said. "Those guys have been soldiers for us all year. For those guys to come through … we had so many guys come in and out of the lineup throughout this series, and that's what it takes to beat a team like that."
Video: COL@VGK, Gm6: Burakovsky rips wrist shot home on rush
Andre Burakovsky scored his first goal of the postseason at 16:52 to tie it 3-3.
Pietrangelo gave the Golden Knights a 4-3 lead with 18 seconds remaining in the second. After Colorado failed to clear the zone, Alex Tuch's spinning shot caromed off the boards to Pietrangelo, who beat a lunging Grubauer over his glove.
William Carrier scored at the top of the crease to make it 5-3 at 11:46 of the third period, and Max Pacioretty shot into an empty net at 16:50 for the 6-3 final.
"It's so hard to get to this point," DeBoer said. "Everyone talks about winning the Stanley Cup … this is hard. It's hard to win a series, it's hard to make the playoffs in this league. What these men here have accomplished is unreal."
NOTES: The Golden Knights are the third team in NHL history to reach the semifinals in three of their first four seasons, joining the New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues. … Vegas is 17-3 in playoff games when leading after the first period. … Colorado is 2-13 when trailing 3-2 in a best-of-7 series. … Fleury is three wins shy of tying Grant Fuhr (92) for third in NHL postseason history. … Burakovsky scored his 10th goal in an elimination game, which trails only Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin (13) for the most among active players.
Video: Fleury, Golden Knights eliminate Avs with Game 6 win