LAS VEGAS — The band Surfaris had a hit single in 1963 called Wipe Out. It was played during the second intermission here Sunday night at T-Mobile Arena, a fitting choice under the circumstances.
The Avalanche was getting wiped out by the Vegas Golden Knights.
The Knights held just a two-goal lead at the time in Game 4, but based on how the Avs were playing — and had played for much of Games 2 and 3 — Vegas was riding a wave that Colorado could not stop.
When it was over Vegas had a 5-1 victory, and a hat trick from winger Jonathan Marchessault to even the second-round playoff series, 2-2.
The Knights outshot the Avs 35-18 for the game and now 119-63 over the last three.
Game 5 is Tuesday night at Ball Arena.
“I didn’t have a problem with our intent and the purpose to our game and the way we competed,” said Avalanche coach Jared Bednar, who complained of his club’s compete level after Game 3. “For the most part, it was pretty good. We gave up some chances off the rush when they were beating us up the ice.
“They made some plays and got some chances but I think our work ethic was fine. The compete on the puck was much better. We still lost our fair share of the battles, that’s for sure.”
He added: “At least we entered the fight tonight and got in it. I didn’t like the results. They scored some timely goals. We missed on opportunities.”
The Avs, who were swept in Las Vegas after sweeping the first two games at home, again got little from their top players — particularly the top line of center Nathan MacKinnon, Gabe Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen. Landeskog failed to produce a shot for the second straight game. Rantanen and MacKinnon combined for five.
“I think they’re frustrated, for sure,” Bednar said. “It’s tight-checking, especially for those guys because they’re not just dealing with one line. They’re dealing with multiple lines. They have four lines playing real well. ”
From the beginning of Game 2 through the second period in Game 4, it’s been a Mile High nightmare since the Avs won Game 1 with a 7-1 rout during which the MacKinnon line had five goals.
“This is going to be a battle. I fully expect our guys to take another step in this series in (Tuesday’s) home game and our big line will have to be a big part of that,” Bednar said.
The Avalanche had a relatively decent first period — better than its previous six when it was outshot a combined 84-45. Vegas still controlled the tempo but the Avs had more jump and tenacity than in the previous two games. The teams traded goals and it was 1-1 after 20 minutes.
Then the Knights took over, winning puck battles all over the ice and getting goals from Max Pacioretty and Marchessault (power play) to take a commanding 3-1 lead.
Marchessault completed his hat trick 6:01 into the third period and Patrick Brown made it 5-1 late in the frame.
Colorado goalie Philipp Grubauer had his first poor game of the series.
He allowed Pacioretty’s wrist shot from the left wing to beat him as well as Marchessault’s one-time slap shot from the same area on the power play. On Brown’s goal, Grubauer and the puck slid back into the net and across the goal line.
As in Game 3, the Avs’ offense was virtually nonexistent. The MacKinnon line had just three shots through 40 minutes — none from Landeskog for the second straight game.
The Avs nearly found themselves down 1-0 on the first shift of the game. Colorado has possession in the neutral zone off the opening faceoff but Landeskog whiffed on a dump in and the Knights took it the other way and created a 2-on-1 rush with forwards Pacioretty and Chandler Stephenson. Grubauer was up for the challenge, stopping Stephenson’s shot from the doorstep.
Colorado got the game’s first goal shortly thereafter when winger Brandon Saad tapped home a loose puck in the crease for his sixth goal in his last seven games. Linemate J.T. Compher put a shot on goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who couldn’t control the puck and it came right to Saad just 1:50 into the game.
“They got a good team. That’s the way a series goes. It’s why they call it a series,” Saad said. “We didn’t think we were going to come in here and take both games. We didn’t play as good as we should of but there are some things we did do well. We can kind of regroup and have a short-term memory. We’re going back to a building where we have success and play well at.”
The Avs failed to generate momentum after Saad’s goal. Vegas produced a relentless attack until it finally scored at 7:07 off a costly turnover by defenseman Patrik Nemeth, who previously took the game’s first penalty at 2:43.
From beside Grubauer’s net, Nemeth inadvertently fed the puck to Knights forward Reilly Smith, who clanged a backhand off the crossbar. Moments later, with the Avs scrambling, Marchessault tapped in a blind pass from William Karlsson.
Footnotes. Rantanen saw his 17-game points streak dating to last year come to an end. … Avs center Nazem Kadri served the sixth game of his eight-game suspension for a check to the head of St. Louis Blues defenseman Justin Faulk. … Vegas fourth-line winger Ryan Reaves returned after serving a two-game suspension for roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct against Avs defenseman Ryan Graves in Game 1. Reaves replaced Dylan Sikura. … Avalanche depth forward Jayson Megna and Vegas defenseman Brayden McNabb were both removed from the NHL’s COVID protocol absence list. McNabb returned to the lineup, replacing Nick Holden.
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