Alex Pietrangelo appeared on the video scoreboard for a between-periods interview Thursday, and the sight of the shirtless Golden Knights defenseman sent a buzz through T-Mobile Arena.
After five months of fumbling pucks at the blue line and falling short of the expectations that came with his high-priced contract, he finally had his breakthrough moment.
Pietrangelo’s goal late in the second period put the Knights ahead to stay, and they closed out the Colorado Avalanche with a 6-3 victory in Game 6 of the West Division final.
“I’ve played a lot of hockey in my career, and I’ve learned to kind of stick through it and trust the process,” Pietrangelo said. “You just continue to put yourself in a spot to score. Get the chances, get the looks that you want and eventually things will turn.”
The Knights won four straight over the Presidents’ Trophy winner after falling behind 2-0 in the series and are the fourth team in NHL history to win a best-of-seven series against the league’s top-seeded club after dropping the first two games.
They advanced to the final four of the postseason for the third time in four seasons and will meet Montreal in the Stanley Cup semifinals starting Monday.
“I don’t think there was a person in the hockey world when we were down 2-0 that would predict that we would finish this off at home in six,” coach Pete DeBoer said. “There was a…