It wasn’t always plain-sailing but the Vegas Golden Knights got the job done in Game 2.
Reilly Smith scored the game-winner at 7:13 in Overtime to help the Vegas Golden Knights beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 and take a two-nothing series lead.
Tomas Nosek made it a two-goal game soon after with a wrister, although the fourth-line grinder left the game late in the second period and never returned.
More from Vegas Hockey Knight
- The moment the Vegas Golden Knights have been waiting for
- 3 Golden Knights players deserving of the Conn Smythe Trophy
- If Golden Knights win Stanley Cup, who should Mark Stone pass it to first?
- Why are Vegas Golden Knights fans obsessed with flamingos?
- Just one more game for Golden Knight supremacy
As was expected, though, the Blackhawks displayed a lot of fight and rookie Kirby Dach recorded his first postseason goal early in the second period to make it a one-goal game.
Both netminders came up big in the final period to set up Overtime, and it was Vegas’ points leader in The Bubble that came up with the goods with Reilly Smith putting home Paul Stastny’s centring pass at 7:13.
It was a huge win for the Golden Knights who could close out the series this weekend if they are able to win both games of a back-to-back.
Let’s break the game down period-by-period…
As was the case in Game 1 Vegas controlled play in the opening stages and they were soon rewarded for their dominance.
The second-line, which has been the Golden Knights’ best line so far in The Bubble, was at it again as Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault combined to feed Paul Stastny who beat Corey Crawford with a one-timer at 10:44.
It was then a two-goal game after Tomas Nosek carried the puck in on the rush before firing a wrister under Crawford’s blocker.
Crawford was being kept busy by the dynamic duo of Smith and Marchessault alone, while Patrick Kane hit the post with Chicago on the power play late in the first period.
Both teams had seven shots on goal after the opening 20.
Chicago came out fighting in the middle frame and they got on the board for the first time in the game at 3:17.
After both Patrick Kane and Calvin de Haan had shots blocked, the puck fell to Kirby Dach at the side of the net and the rookie was able to jam home the puck for his first goal in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
With Nick Holden in the box for interference, the Blackhawks went to work on the power play and they made it a tied game at 12:07 as Dominik Kubalik took a pass from Kane before going high to beat Robin Lehner with a wrister.
Looking to halt Chicago’s momentum, Vegas Head Coach Peter DeBoer threw Mark Stone on a line with Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith and it paid dividends.
Vegas did a good job of keeping the puck in the zone and Alec Martinez fired the puck towards the net, where Stone was able to take the rebound off his body before jamming the puck home.
However, it was soon a tied game again as Dylan Strome buried a pass from Patrick Kane on the rush.
Vegas had outscored opponents 10-1 in the final period of games since the restart, but they started the third period without Tomas Nosek who had left the game in the second.
The Golden Knights had controlled play, outshooting the Hawks by a margin of 16-6 but the Hockey Gods decided that Overtime would decide Game 2.
While we have seen other games go the distance and then some in Overtime, hello Tampa and Columbus, this wasn’t the case.
With just 7:13 played, Nick Cousins battled hard along the boards to dish the puck to Paul Stastny who then sent a centering pass over to Reilly Smith who beat Crawford to win it for the Golden Knights.
Let’s go over some notes & stats…