Vegas Golden Knights eliminate Los Angeles Kings
April 18, 2018 8:59 AM
by Nick Pellegrino
The hockey gods definitely played a cruel joke on the Los Angeles Kings.
Not only have the Kings failed to capture a Stanley Cup Playoff series since last hoisting the Cup in 2014, this year's elimination came off the stick by a former member of the Silver & Black.
Brayden McNabb, a defenseman who hails from a town so small that many maps of Saskatchewan don't list it, tallied the game's lone goal Tuesday, pacing the Vegas Golden Knights to a 1-0 triumph over the Kings, becoming the first NHL club in its inaugural season to sweep a playoff series.
Vegas joins Pittsburgh (vs. Oakland Seals in 1970) to sweep its first playoff series at any point of a franchise's existence.
Vegas will wait for its opponent -- either San Jose or Anaheim -- to be determined for the Pacific Division Final series, with the Knights again holding the home-ice advantage.
The Kings left McNabb exposed in the 2017 expansion draft, yet was quickly selected by the Golden Knights. Luckily for McNabb, he probably won't be left available for the Seattle Totems to snag in the 2019 expansion draft, already signed to a four-year, $10 million contract extension worth $2.5 million annually.
McNabb scored at 4:04 in the second period on a one-timer from the right circle. It was the first NHL playoff goal for McNabb, who played 201 games for the Kings from 2014-17.
Reilly Smith and William Karlsson had the assists, but it was Jonathan Marchessault's pass that started the sequence and allowed the Golden Knights to cleanly and quickly exit their own zone for a 3-on-2 rush.
Smith has three assists during a three-game point streak.
Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves for his second shutout in the series. In more than 275 minutes of action, he yielded a mere three goals to the Kings, lowering his postseason goals-against average to a microscopic 0.65. It was his 12th career postseason shutout.
L.A. goalie Jonathan Quick made 20 saves for the Kings, who are 0-5 at home and 1-8 in their past two playoff appearances since last winning the Cup.