The NHL’s Golden Knights are the toast of the town.
Erik Haula’s goal in double overtime gave Vegas a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Friday night for a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.
”Honestly, I think that’s my first overtime goal and I’m happy it came at this time; that’s one of the best feelings in sports,” Haula said. ”Going into overtime we just stressed it in the locker room to just keep going after `em, to keep getting pucks behind `em, keep playing north, keep playing fast and I think we executed our game plan.”
With less than five minutes on the clock in the second overtime, James Neal skated into the zone, looked past Alex Tuch and instead found a streaking Haula, who skated in on his own to beat goalie Jonathan Quick and send a towel-waving crowd of 18,588 into a frenzy.
”Obviously, he had the composure to hold the puck. I knew he was going to make that play. Maybe that helps we’ve been playing all year,” Haula said of Neal. ”I had good speed going to the net. … I was able to slide a five-hole, he reacted. I was coming in with a lot of speed, I got lucky and we got the win.”
Game 3 in the best-of-seven Western Conference series is Sunday night in Los Angeles.
Tuch scored for expansion Vegas in regulation, and Paul LaDue had the Kings’ goal.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 29 saves for the Golden Knights. Quick stopped 54 shots for the Kings.
”Such a relief at the end,” said Fleury, who has allowed just one goal in a little more than 155 minutes over the first two games. ”It was long, it was hard. The guys did an awesome job again tonight. It was a good feeling to win at home in front of our fans.”
The Golden Knights outshot Los Angeles in regulation, 35-20.
Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said Friday was a good example of why his scheme of playing four lines consistently all season is important, as his team continued to play with more pep while the Kings appeared fatigued as the second overtime wore on.
”Haula’s a great skater. … Obviously that last goal Vladislav Namestnikov Jersey , Haula’s speed created a lot of that goal,” said Gallant, who got the victory exactly one year after being hired as coach of the Golden Knights. ”As coaches, all year long, we played four lines and that’s what we do, so hopefully that paid off a little bit tonight. We played four lines most of the overtime, because when you play that much hockey, guys start to cramp up. It was tough on them. It was a great game, great battle and unbelievable for our fans tonight.”
The Kings, meanwhile, played without suspended defenseman Drew Doughty, a Norris Trophy contender who led the NHL in total minutes this season. The league’s Department of Player Safety handed down a one-game suspension after Doughty’s illegal hit to the head on Vegas forward William Carrier midway through the third period of the Golden Knights’ 1-0 series-opening victory Wednesday night.
Kings defenseman Oscar Fantenberg led the team with 53 shifts, while fellow defenseman Alec Martinez led the club with 44 minutes, 43 seconds on ice.
In contrast, nobody on Vegas’ roster played more than 38 minutes, with defenseman Nate Schmidt leading the Golden Knights at 37:19.
Game 1 featured 127 hits, including 68 by the Kings, and the rugged play continued in Game 2, with the same physical theme. Los Angeles outhit the Golden Knights 80-56 after the two combined for 113 in regulation.
&rdquoQuick) gave us a chance to win like he always does,” Kings coach John Stevens said. ”A lot of guys played hard tonight Dexter Manley Jersey , not just Jonny. We had some guys play real hard (to) give us a chance to win. Now we’ve got to go home to take care of business at home.”
Vegas got on the board first after Jonathan Marchessault’s shot went wide and caromed off the end boards. Tuch was in front of the net to clean it up for his first career playoff goal, on a power play, giving the Golden Knights a 1-0 lead late in the first period.
The Kings got their first goal of the series on a power play, when LaDue fired a wrist shot from the point to beat Fleury with 4:05 left in the second.
Both teams had their chances in the first overtime, but Fleury and Quick were magnificent between the pipes.
Through two games the teams have played 155 minutes, 16 seconds, and Fleury and Quick have allowed just four goals combined.
NOTES: Rock star Gwen Stefani, a Southern California native raised in Anaheim, was shown on the T-Mobile video board delivering a ”Go Knights Go!” chant during the first period. … Fellow rock star Vince Neil got the crowd roaring to start the third period by winding up the air raid siren.
TORONTO — The Toronto Raptors appeared to have control of their first-round series against Washington Wizards when they won the first two games.
They also thought they had Game 4 within their grasp, and yet the series is tied 2-2.
The pressure will be on the No. 1 Eastern Conference seed when they host the No. 8 seed Wizards in Game 5 of the best-of-seven series at the Air Canada Centre.
“I feel like both teams protected home court, now it’s the best-of-three,” Wizards guard John Wall said. “Somebody is going to have to win on the opponent’s court to win. We have a good opportunity to go there with some momentum, going into Game 5, and we want to take full advantage and try to get that win.”
It could have been different. With just under five minutes to play in Game 4 at Washington on Sunday, Wizards guard Bradley Beal fouled out. He had scored 31 points in 32 minutes.
The Wizards did not fold, however, but the Raptors did. With Wall leading the way, the Wizards went on to defeat the Raptors 106-98 to even the series.
“This one was tougher, because I thought we had it under control,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said.
Wall had 27 points Akiem Hicks Jersey , 14 assists and six rebounds in playing 43 minutes on Sunday.
After dropping the first two games in Toronto, Washington won both games at home, including a 122-103 decision in Game 3.
The Raptors led by 14 points during the third quarter on Sunday, but the score was tied at 92 when Beal fouled out.
The Raptors, who used their full bench successfully during the season, have started to again rely heavily on their All-Star guards DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry.
DeRozan had 35 points, six rebounds and six assists Sunday, but also committed four of Toronto’s 19 turnovers (the Wizards made 13 turnovers) in 38 minutes. He also made some ill-advised shots down the stretch and was willing to shoulder his share of the blame.
“I blame myself for a lot of mistakes, for a lot of forced shots late in the game,” DeRozan said. “Mental mistakes, turnovers, late-game execution, stabbing in the backcourt in transition late in the game. A lot of things.”
Reserve guard Delon Wright continued on that theme.
“I just think we have to make that adjustment to realize that they’re not blitzing (DeRozan) as much anymore, they’re playing more single coverage,” said Wright, who passed up a couple of 3-pointers.
“Shoot it, man,” DeRozan said. “Every one of my teammates, I don’t care if they miss 20 shots in a row, if you get a shot http://www.jaguarscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-jalen-ramsey-jersey , shoot it. That’s the confidence we’ve had in one another all year.”
Lowry also saw considerable playing time, playing 39 minutes and had 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
A key player off the bench for the Raptors all season has been point guard Fred VanVleet, who has played only 2:49 in the series because of a sore right shoulder and is listed as doubtful for Game 5.
The Wizards, meanwhile, have been dealing with adversity all season with Wall limited to 41 starts because of a sprained left shoulder and surgery on his left knee. The Wizards were 2-2 against the Raptors during the season even though Wall missed all four games.
“You have to have resolve to win in this league,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. “We’ve had some tough moments this year with John missing half the season, but we found it, and it put us in a position to make the playoffs through resolve. You win playoff games, and you win playoff series with having that. We have that, and we have to continue to have that because we have to win two more games, and one of them has to be on the road.”
The Raptors will be trying to avoid making as many turnovers. Another veteran, forward Serge Ibaka, also made four turnovers Sunday.
“Some of it is Washington’s good defense and some of it is just taking out a gun, pointing it at your foot and shooting ourselves in the foot,” Casey said. “A lot of it was uncharacteristic. But it just didn’t start in Game 3. We had some of the same turnovers the first two games, but we were able to score and have a cushion and live through it. We have to take care of the basketball. Make sure we get quality shots.”