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December 9, 2018

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Clean sweep: Golden Knights eliminate Kings with fourth-straight win

Golden Knights Kings

AP Photo/Alex Gallardo

Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Brayden McNabb, second from right, celebrates his goal with teammates as Los Angeles Kings center Alex Iafallo (19) skates in the background during the second period of Game 4 of an NHL hockey first-round playoff series in Los Angeles, Tuesday, April 17, 2018.

Updated Tuesday, April 17, 2018 | 10:09 p.m.

Golden Knights fans invaded Los Angeles Tuesday night, armed with brooms.

They celebrated outside Staples Center well into the night after the Golden Knights completed a four-game sweep of the Kings to advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Marc-Andre Fleury pitched his second shutout of the series as Vegas bested Los Angeles 1-0 Tuesday night.

The game’s lone goal came off the stick of Brayden McNabb, who blistered a slap shot past his former teammate Jonathan Quick to end the Kings’ season. Reilly Smith set McNabb up for the goal, notching his first assist of the playoffs.

Fleury’s shutout is another in his growing list of great performances this postseason. The veteran netminder allowed only three total goals in the four-game series. The 10 combined goals between the teams are the second-fewest in a four-game series in NHL history.

Golden Knights lead 1-0 after two periods

Brayden McNabb sent a blistering slap shot past Jonathan Quick and into the net to give the Golden Knights a 1-0 lead early in the second period in Los Angeles.

The goal, which has Vegas up 1-0 entering the final period, was set up by Reilly Smith who faked a shot before sliding the puck over to McNabb.

The defenseman one-timed the puck into the net before Quick could slide across his crease for his first goal of the playoffs. The goal is extra sweet for McNabb coming against his former team, in the building he played the last three seasons.

Marc-Andre Fleury has stopped all 21 shots faced to this point in search of his fourth-straight dominant performance in this series.

After being outplayed and outshot 14-8 in the first period, the Golden Knights picked up the pace and matched the Kings with 7-7 shots on goal in the second period.

Golden Knights, Kings scoreless after one period

The Los Angeles Kings are playing for their playoff lives tonight at Staples Center, and it showed in the first period.

The Kings dominated the first 20 minutes of action, outshooting Vegas 14-8 and controlling the puck for the majority of the period, but were unable to score.

Vegas and Los Angeles remain tied 0-0 thanks to a great first-period performance from Marc-Andre Fleury in net. Fleury stopped all 14 shots he faced including a chance by Dustin Brown from right in front of the crease.

It continues a trend of strong starts for the Kings, who have outplayed the Golden Knights in the first period for nearly every game of the series. To this point the Golden Knights have made adjustments and outlasted Los Angeles, but that was before the Kings faced elimination with a loss.

The Golden Knights’ best chance in the first period came on their first shot on goal. Jonathan Quick made a routine save but put the rebound right onto the stick of Alex Tuch, who fired it underneath a sprawling Quick. The puck hit Erik Haula’s skate, preventing it from going into the wide-open net.

Pre game

LOS ANGELES — Up 3-0 in their first-round, best-of-seven playoff series, the Golden Knights don’t need a win tonight.

In fact, they only have to win one of the next four games to advance past the Kings, but coach Gerard Gallant doesn’t want his team thinking that way.

“This is a big game. It’s a huge game,” Gallant said. “Playoffs are all about momentum, so let’s keep the momentum. We’re playing well, we’re winning hockey games, so (we can’t) look at it and think we have four chances to win one game. We better come out and play our best game, so that’s the message from me.”

Gallant and his players know the Kings have crawled out of a 3-0 deficit before and don’t want to give them that chance.

“You have to expect their best,” defenseman Deryk Engelland said. “They’re going to come out and push. They’re going to come out flying, so we have to be ready to match that intensity.”

The Kings outplayed Vegas for much of the last game, taking a 1-0 lead into the final period, but the Golden Knights rallied with three straight goals for a 3-2 win.

“We can’t sit back,” Engelland said. “We have to play our game and play it well. I think even last game we came out a little slow off the start, but as the game picked up, we got better.”

The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. for Game 4 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

David Perron will be making his second appearance since returning from injury. He admitted it took him some time to knock the rust off but expects to be much better tonight.

“I was extremely nervous before the last game throughout the whole day,” he said. “You over-analyze things and are not sure on a lot of things. I feel a lot more comfortable today, and I feel like even through the last game I was getting more comfortable.”

He will again be playing on the third line alongside Cody Eakin and Ryan Carpenter.

“It doesn’t matter who I play with, I still try to play the same game,” Perron said. “I try to create plays off the wall, create some tenacity in the corners and strip guys of pucks. I think my whole game wasn’t fully there in (Game 3) but it’s going to keep getting better and better.”

The players agree the key to tonight’s game is not falling into the trap of playing a physical game with the Kings and staying out of the penalty box.

“We definitely have to stay out of the box,” Engelland said. “(Our) penalty kill has been good, but they have a good power play and they can make you play if you take penalties. We have to stay disciplined and play between the whistles.”

The Golden Knights have successfully killed 10 of 11 penalties this season, with the lone goal coming in Game 2 in Las Vegas.

“All year we’ve done a good job of just playing our game and not doing anything other than that,” Perron said. “They are going to play their game. They’re really effective at it, and that’s why we have to make sure we don’t get involved in that stuff and get out of the scrums.”

Prediction: Golden Knights 3, Kings 2 OT

Playoffs record for predictions: 2-1

Season record for predictions: 38-26

Puck drops: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles

Radio: Fox Sports 1340 AM and 98.9 FM

TV: AT&T SportsNet (DirecTV 684, Cox 1313, CenturyLink Prism 1760)

Betting line: Golden Knights plus-110, Total 5 minus-115 to the under

Golden Knights playoff record (3-0) (1-0 away)

Coach: Gerard Gallant

Playoffs goal leader: Six tied (1)

Playoffs assist leader: Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith (2)

Expected goalie: Marc-Andre Fleury (3-0, 0.84 goals against average)

Los Angeles Kings playoff record(0-3) (0-1 home)

Coach: John Stevens

Playoffs goal leader: Three tied (1)

Playoffs assist leader: Five tied (1)

Expected goalie: Jonathan Quick (0-3, 1.69 goals against average)

Golden Knights expected game day roster

Forwards (12): Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Ryan Carpenter, William Carrier, Cody Eakin, William Karlsson, Oscar Lindberg, Jonathan Marchessault, James Neal, Tomas Nosek, David Perron, Reilly Smith, and Alex Tuch.

Defensemen (6): Deryk Engelland, Brayden McNabb, Jon Merrill, Colin Miller, Nate Schmidt and Shea Theodore.

Goalies (2): Marc-Andre Fleury and Malcolm Subban

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

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