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game recap

Golden Knights defeat Avalanche in OT in round-robin, win West top seed

Go 3-0-0 in Cup Qualifiers, will face No. 8 Blackhawks in Playoffs

by Rick Sadowski / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

Tuch's overtime winner

VGK@COL, RR: Tuch picks the corner for OT winner

Round Robin: Alex Tuch carries the puck in on the rush and goes top-shelf with a wrist shot, winning it for the Golden Knights in overtime

  • 00:52 •

Alex Tuch scored with 16 seconds left in overtime to give the Vegas Golden Knights a 4-3 win against the Colorado Avalanche and the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference in a Stanley Cup Qualifiers round-robin game at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Saturday.

"It feels pretty good," said Tuch, who beat Philipp Grubauer glove side on a 2-on-1. "Honestly, it was a big goal to get the first seed. I'm glad I could have had it, but I didn't care who scored it as long as we did. To be able to get that first seed means a lot and I guess personally, it's probably one of my bigger goals in the playoffs and I'm just trying to move forward and trying to continue that push."

Jonathan Marchessault scored two goals, Nicolas Roy scored, and Robin Lehner made 32 saves for the Golden Knights (3-0-0), who will play the Chicago Blackhawks, the No. 8 seed, in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"They're a good team," Vegas defenseman Shea Theodore said of Chicago. "I watched most of their games in the play-in round and they're fast. They've got the skill, they've got the goaltending, they've got everything. It's going to be a good matchup, but I think just for our group, the confidence boost playing through these couple of games and really finding our game, that was key for us and going forward we're just going to focus on that."

 

[WATCH: All Golden Knights vs. Avalanche highlights]

 

J.T. Compher, Joonas Donskoi and Nathan MacKinnon scored, and Grubauer made 22 saves for the Avalanche (2-0-1), who will be the No. 2 seed and play the Arizona Coyotes, the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference First Round.

"It's a huge challenge," MacKinnon said. "They're a very good team, well-structured. They've got some good offense. It's going to be a tough series and we'll do our homework and we'll be well prepared and ready to go for Game 1. Losing today [stinks], but we're the No. 2 seed, we're not in a bad spot, and we're feeling good heading into the first round."

Video: EA Sports Overtime Winner: Alex Tuch wins it

The top four seeds for the playoffs in each conference are determined by round-robin in the Qualifiers. The St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars play Sunday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, SN360, SN1) to determine the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds in the West.

"The one thing I learned about our group is how committed they are to trying to win a Stanley Cup," Vegas coach Peter DeBoer said. "The number of guys that stayed engaged through the pause (for the coronavirus), even when it looked at times that we didn't know if we would get to play again. It's an exceptional opportunity to go out and compete for, at least in our minds, the greatest prize in pro sports."

Marchessault gave Vegas a 3-2 lead on a penalty shot at 3:02 of the third period after he was hooked to the ice by Ryan Graves on a breakaway.

Video: VGK@COL, RR: Marchessault converts on penalty shot

Compher tied it 3-3 with 1:02 left in the third and Grubauer on the bench for an extra attacker. He jammed in the puck after Nazem Kadri hit the crossbar.

"That's how you score goals, getting to the net," Compher said. "At the end it was a great job moving around by our 6-on-5 unit and we were able to pop one in."

Vegas took a 1-0 lead at 1:34 of the second period when Marchessault tipped in Theodore's point shot on a power play.

Colorado tied 1-1 at 6:46 on a power-play goal by MacKinnon, who put a backhand into an open net while spinning in the slot.

Video: VGK@COL, RR: MacKinnon scores PPG amid scramble

The Golden Knights regained the lead at 2-1 at 12:55. Roy put in the rebound of Ryan Reaves' shot.

The Avalanche tied it 2-2 at 14:51. Donskoi poked in the rebound of Compher's shot.

"I didn't think it was our best game," Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. "It was a long feeling-out process. I think we were OK, we had the right intentions, but it wasn't our best game that we've played so far. I liked the stick-to-it-iveness to stay with it and to keep chipping away and finding a way at the end. We just weren't as sharp as a group as we've been."

The Avalanche were 1-for-6 on the power play and didn't score on a 5-on-3 that lasted 1:28 in the first period. Their best chance came on a one-timer from Mikko Rantanen that Lehner gloved.

"I thought we played the 5-on-3 fairly well," Lehner said. "I saw most of the pucks and we had a lot of good blocks. But Colorado is a very good team and they're going to get their chances and, yeah, they made a good play and I was fortunate to get over there."

Video: Golden Knights earn West's top seed with 4-3 OT win

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