Due to cap restraints and injuries, the Vegas Golden Knights were forced to play 10 forwards and five defensemen with the first seed in the West Division on the line against the Colorado Avalanche.
Despite a good effort, the Knights fell to the Avalanche 2-1 but remain at 39-14-2 with 80 points while Colorado continues to stay close behind with 78 points putting them in second.
With a win, the Knights could have clinched the first seed in the West Division.
Vegas will have one final crack at the first seed Wednesday, May 12, as they travel to San Jose to wrap up the regular season. Puck drop is at 6:00 p.m.
Vegas was down four forwards and one defensemen heading into the matchup.
Defenseman Alec Martinez missed the contest after a previously stellar outing against the St. Louis Blues.
Left-wing Peyton Krebs suffered a broken jaw and will be out for the foreseeable future, according to sources close to the team.
Forwards Max Pacioretty, Ryan Reaves and Tomas Nosek also remained out.
The Knights still put up a good fight in the most important game of the year for both teams.
During the frantic first period which saw both teams narrowly miss shots, defensemen Alex Pietrangelo scored his sixth goal of the season on a rebounded shot saved by Colorado’s Philip Grubauer.
The team’s continued to trade blows until Colorado’s Andre Burakovsky broke the scoring drought early in the second period.
Vegas’ offense went cold during the latter parts of the second period and for most of the third period. There was a five-minute stretch where the Knights failed to have a shot on goal.
The Avalanche took advantage of the Knights’ scoring woes and turned in the game winner on a slick goal from J.T. Compher, who redirected a pass between goalie Robin Lehner’s legs. Lehner finished with 19 saves on 21 shots.
Vegas would go with the empty-net look but fail to put any shots past Grubauer, who has played the Knights exceptionally well this season. He finished the night with an incredible 36 saves on 37 shots.