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Magical inaugural season top moment in Knights’ postseason history

It might be difficult for Golden Knights fans to remember how the team has performed in the NHL postseason.

After all, it’s been two years since the team participated in a playoff game. That’s an eternity for a franchise that had been in the bracket every year until last season.

So before the Knights’ triumphant return to the Stanley Cup playoffs, here’s a look at their postseason history:

2021 Lost in Stanley Cup semifinals

The Knights were the No. 2 seed in the West Division in a reconfigured format that was the result of a shortened season in which all 56 games were played within the division.

First up was a series against the Wild, who rallied from a 3-1 deficit to force a Game 7. Mattias Janmark scored a hat trick in a 6-2 win for the Knights to clinch the series.

After Marc-Andre Fleury had started all seven games against the Wild, Robin Lehner got the nod in the opener against Colorado and got lit up in a 7-1 loss in Denver. Fleury returned for a 3-2 overtime loss in Game 2, but the Knights took control when the series moved to T-Mobile Arena and won four straight to advance to the semifinals.

There it appeared the Knights caught a break by drawing the Montreal Canadiens, who entered the postseason with the lowest point total of any of the 16 participants.

Instead, the Knights lost in six games. With the series tied 1-1 and the Knights clinging to a lead late in Game 3, Fleury mishandled a puck that ended up in the back of the net to change the complexion of the series. After the Canadiens won in overtime, the Knights turned to Lehner in Game 4, and it resulted in 2-1 overtime win to even the series.

Fleury returned for a 4-1 home loss in Game 5. The Canadiens then got 37 saves from Carey Price in a 3-2 overtime win in Montreal to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

2020 Lost in Western Conference finals

The Knights were declared Pacific Division champions when the season was called several weeks early because of the COVID pandemic. They then claimed the top seed in the Western Conference by sweeping their way through the seeding round-robin when the playoffs were contested in a bubble in Edmonton.

A major question was how the Knights would handle their goaltending rotation, and it appeared as if coach Pete DeBoer might even alternate games, but Fleury saw just one start in each of the three series.

The result was a dominant five-game victory over the Blackhawks in the first round, with Chicago’s victory coming in a 48-save effort by Corey Crawford in Game 4.

In the conference semifinals, Vancouver fell behind 3-1 before rallying to force a decisive seventh game.

In that game, Lehner recorded his third shutout of the series in a 3-0 win that advanced the Knights into a showdown with Dallas.

The Stars scored just seven regulation goals, but the Knights’ offense went silent and Dallas won in five games.

2019 Lost in first round

A controversial penalty call in Game 7 will be remembered forever as one of the worst moments in Knights history.

After dropping the opener against the Sharks, the Knights rallied to win three straight games and appeared to be in control of the series.

San Jose won 5-2 in Game 5 and then scored short-handed in double overtime of Game 6 to send the series back to the Bay Area.

Still, the Knights appeared headed to a second-round showdown with Colorado, as they led 3-0 in the third period.

Then it happened. Cody Eakin was assessed a controversial major penalty, and the Sharks scored four times on the five-minute power play. The Knights tied the game and forced overtime, but the Sharks prevailed to become the second team in NHL history to overcome a three-goal deficit in the third period of a Game 7.

The league apologized to the Knights for the call.

2018 Lost in Stanley Cup Final

The magical inaugural season became one of the best stories in sports when the Knights advanced to the Stanley Cup Final.

After sweeping the Kings, the Knights eliminated the Sharks in six games to advance to the Western Conference finals against Winnipeg.

The Jets controlled the action at home in Game 1, but the Knights didn’t back down and evened the series with a 3-1 victory in Game 2 behind two goals from Jonathan Marchessault.

The Knights returned home for two victories before clinching the series on the road in Game 5 to set up a showdown for the Stanley Cup against Washington, becoming the first expansion team to accomplish such a feat.

The Knights won Game 1 6-4 at T-Mobile Arena, but the Capitals took the next four and celebrated a championship in Las Vegas.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

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