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Mark Stone gives Golden Knights OT win, 3-2 series lead

Updated June 8, 2021 - 10:59 pm

DENVER — The Golden Knights hung around Tuesday like an unwanted guest at a house party.

While the music blasted and the guests at Ball Arena danced their way through the first 40 minutes of Game 5, the Knights stayed in the corner, picking at the food tray and waiting for their moment to crash the festivities.

The strategy worked, and the Knights are in control of the West Division final as a result.

Mark Stone’s goal 50 seconds into overtime capped an impressive comeback and gave the Knights a 3-2 victory over Colorado.

The Knights lead the best-of-seven series 3-2 and can close out Colorado in Game 6 on Thursday at T-Mobile Arena.

“We’ve been a team for four years. We’re resilient. We don’t sit back,” left wing Jonathan Marchessault said. “We knew that we had a chance if we came out hard in the third period, and we did that. Good teams find a way to win a game.”

Marchessault and Alex Tuch scored in the third period to help erase a two-goal deficit. Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury bounced back from a bad goal at the end of the first period and made a point-blank stop on Avalanche forward J.T. Compher’s rebound attempt 10 seconds into the overtime.

Soon after, Stone blocked a shot by defenseman Ryan Graves and bolted out of the zone once Max Pacioretty gained possession.

Stone corralled a pass in the neutral zone, and with Graves and Nathan MacKinnon in hot pursuit, the Knights captain sent a shot past goalie Philipp Grubauer’s glove into the top corner for his fifth goal of the playoffs.

The Knights had lost four straight in overtime in the postseason, including Game 2 against the Avalanche.

“I think 20 seconds into overtime the game should’ve been over,” Stone said. “We probably should’ve been packing, thinking of going home, but (Fleury) made a huge save to keep us in it and give me the opportunity to end it.”

The Knights trailed 2-0 entering the third period but scored two goals 3:04 apart to tie the game.

Mattias Janmark, who returned after missing the past three games, forced a turnover, and Nicolas Roy was able to hold the puck in the offensive zone.

Tuch drove to the net and batted the puck out of the air after initially bobbling the pass at 1:03 for his fourth goal.

“I saw them get possession, and I just broke towards the net,” Tuch said. “(Roy) put it on a platter. Like I said, I got pretty lucky being able to bat that into the net.”

The Knights’ second line continued its hot series and tied the score on a three-on-two. William Karlsson cut to the middle of the ice, waited and then found Marchessault hanging out at the post. He flipped a shot over Grubauer to extend his points streak to five games.

Fleury finished with 28 saves and earned his 88th career postseason victory, tying Billy Smith and Ed Belfour for fourth place on the all-time list.

The Knights snapped a three-game road losing streak and handed Colorado its first home loss since March 27. The Avalanche had won 13 straight and were 20-0-1 at home since March 10.

“We knew there was going to be moments where we were going to have to weather the storm and bend but not break, and I thought we did that,” Knights coach Pete DeBoer said. “We’re here in this position with an opportunity to win this because of our depth and the ability to roll four lines and six defensemen and our goaltender, who was great tonight.”

Colorado shuffled its forward lines after its top line was neutralized in Games 3 and 4, and the Knights had to withstand a strong start from Colorado that included Mikko Rantanen missing an open net six minutes into the first period.

But all the Knights’ good work over the final half of the first was undone with 1.8 seconds remaining.

William Karlsson was knocked down from behind before he could get off a shot, and the Avalanche cleared the puck to Brandon Saad in the neutral zone.

He took a peek at the clock, faked a shot after crossing the blue line and sent a wrist shot on net from near the left-wing boards. Fleury reached across his body and tried to glove the puck but whiffed and was left shaking his head.

“I thought I could just catch it and play it around so the rebound wouldn’t be on this side,” Fleury said. “I just felt stupid. I think maybe when I was younger this would have maybe thrown me off a bit more. But I’ve been around for a little bit. The guys had my back coming back to the locker room.”

The Avalanche carried the momentum into the second, a period that had been owned by the Knights this postseason. Before Tuesday, they outscored opponents 16-7 in the middle period and outshot them 140-84 in the postseason but were held without a shot on goal for more than 10 minutes.

The nonstop pressure from the Avalanche paid off at 16:28, as Joonas Donskoi’s one-timer off a feed from rookie Alex Newhook doubled Colorado’s lead to 2-0.

“Normally we take a lot of pride in being really good in the second period. Get four lines rolling, hold onto pucks,” Marchessault said. “But tonight they were the better team in the second period. They were really good. That was their push.”

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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