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April 18, 2019

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Up 3-0, Golden Knights know the series isn’t over yet

Golden Knights celebration

AP Photo/Chris Carlson

Vegas Golden Knights center Cody Eakin (21) celebrates after scoring against the Los Angeles Kings during the third period of Game 3 of an NHL hockey first-round playoff series in Los Angeles, Sunday, April 15, 2018.

With their 3-2 win Sunday night the Golden Knights took a 3-0 lead over the Kings, giving themselves a 98 percent chance to advance to the second round.

In the history of the NHL, 208 teams have fallen behind 3-0 in a playoff series and only four have come back to win it.

The numbers sound good, but it’s important to note that one of the four teams to climb out of a 3-0 deficit was the Los Angeles Kings.

“You’re going up against a team that is experienced in being in this situation,” James Neal said. “We enjoyed last night, and we’ve done a good job of putting things behind us quickly and you have to do that in the playoffs. We get our rest, recovery and focus on tomorrow to be at our best for puck drop.”

The Kings dropped the first three games of their first round matchup with the San Jose Sharks in 2014, but rallied to win the next four and then went on to win the Stanley Cup.

“This team has had some resilience all year. If the puck goes in your net in the first part of a hockey game, it doesn’t mean you just mail in the rest of the 45 minutes or whatever is left on the clock,” Kings coach John Stevens said. “I’ve learned that with this group, as long as there’s time on the clock, there’s time to take care of business.”

Many of the players, including stars Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty and Jonathan Quick, were part of that team that came back.

“Oh yeah, we always (have hope),” Kings forward Alex Iafallo said. “You know, all the experience and the veterans in this locker room, they’ve been through it all. They’ve been helping us young guys throughout the whole way. If we believe in them and believe in ourselves, we’ll be fine.”

The Golden Knights know they must focus on the next game and not get ahead of themselves.

“My message all year long is we worry about the next game,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “I don’t care about what happened in the past, and it doesn’t matter to me that we’re up 3-0 in the series. It’s about what is going to happen Tuesday night.”

In their short run in the playoffs the team has already shown its resiliency, highlighted by their third-period effort on Sunday night. Trailing 1-0 entering the final period the Golden Knights took control of the action and stole the game from Los Angeles in front of a sellout crowd.

“It was a big win last night,” Vegas defenseman Nate Schmidt said. “It’s something that you want to look in your room and see what guys are made of. To be able to come back in the third period, wear them down and take that game and set yourself up for a final win feels pretty good.”

The puck drops for game four at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Staples Center.

Jesse Granger can be reached at 702-259-8814 or [email protected]. Follow Jesse on Twitter at

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