Brayden McNabb scored against his former team in the second period, lifting Vegas to a 1-0 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night that made the Golden Knights the first expansion team in NHL history to sweep its first playoff series.
Marc-Andre Fleury turned in another stellar performance, stopping 31 shots as the Knights finished off their fourth one-goal victory of the series. It was his second shutout of the series.
The Knights poured into the net to hug Fleury at the final horn. Vegas fans in the crowd chanted the goalie’s name in celebration.
The Knights became the second team to win their first four playoff games, joining the 1970 Pittsburgh Penguins.
McNabb scored from the right circle, beating Jonathan Quick’s glove, at 4:04 of the second for his first career playoff goal. The Kings left the defenseman exposed in last year’s expansion draft and the Knights snapped him up.
The Kings pulled Quick in the closing seconds, when Dustin Brown skated straight toward the net and just missed.
Brown also hit the left post with 10 minutes to go in the third, typical of the close calls that failed to generate goals for the Kings in the series. They outshot the Knights 31-21 in the game.
Facing elimination, the Kings came out aggressively and outshot the Knights 14-8 in the opening period. Quick stopped two shots on goal during the only power play in the period when Adrian Kempe was sent off for hooking.
Quick made 20 saves, but he and the Kings couldn’t duplicate the rally they pulled off in 2014. Los Angeles lost its first three games to the Sharks in the first round that year and went on to win the series on the way to winning the Stanley Cup.
Vegas, the third expansion team since 1968-69 to clinch a playoff berth, awaits the winner of the series between Anaheim and San Jose, which the Sharks lead 3-0.
The Kings managed just three goals in this series and lacked offensive punch from center Anze Kopitar (one goal) and wingers Brown and Tyler Toffoli (no goals).
Toffoli took a puck to the face, drawing blood from his nose to his mouth. He got stitches and returned 10 minutes later.