The Vancouver Canucks forced a Game 7 against the Vegas Golden Knights in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Canucks also won Game 5 with a score of 2-1. Here is the recap for Game 6 between the Canucks and Golden Knights.
The Canucks knew they had some life left in this series and were still in the brink of elimination. So, they pushed the pace early on and got an early goal for their efforts. Canucks forward Jake Virtanen scored 2:50 into the game. But, the Golden Knights would make a push for the rest of this period outshooting the Canucks 9-8. However, Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko stole the show yet again. The Golden Knights once again had chance after chance but couldn’t find a way to get the puck past Demko.
Vancouver went into the second period with a 1-0 lead.
Both teams were evenly matched and both had power play opportunities. However, both teams weren’t able to convert on any of their respective power plays keeping the game at a one goal stand still. But, the Golden Knights did have more scoring chances and outshot the Canucks 17-8 during the period.
Vancouver went into the third period still with a 1-0 lead.
The Canucks exploded in this period offensively as they went on to score three unanswered goals from J.T. Miller, Quinn Hughes and Bo Horvat. One of those goals was scored in an empty net when the Golden Knights pulled goaltender Robin Lehner just under the six minute mark of the period. Again, the Golden Knights outshot the Canucks 22-8 but those eight shots were good enough for the Canucks to extend their lead to three. At the end of the game, Demko stopped all 48 Golden Knights shots making him the second rookie goaltender to win two games as a rookie.
Vancouver won the game 4-0 and tied the series 3-3.
Three Stars of the Game
Third Star: Quinn Hughes (1 goal, 1 assist)
Second Star: J.T. Miller (1 goal, 1 assist)
First Star: Thatcher Demko (48 saves)
The Canucks have climbed the mountain and have evened up the series three games a piece. Demko again put on a spectacular performance stopping all 48 of Vegas’ shots. However, he seemed to be fatigued and weary when Vegas had a 6-on-5 man advantage. But, he was able to pull through and should he return to net for Game 7 he’s got to help pull this come from behind upset for his team.
However, Vancouver can’t take their foot off the gas. They know Vegas is coming back with retribution and they have to fend them off to pull off what would be an upset from the remaining teams in this postseason. Though, they did get roughed up a bit in the final minutes of the period as Virtanen took a big hit from Vegas’ defenseman Brayden McNabb. Vancouver defenseman Tyler Myers also looked a bit hurt but got right back on the ice.
With that said, Vancouver would have to win Game 7 tomorrow night in order to fulfill what would probably be one of their biggest tests this postseason.
Vegas Golden Knights
In the last two games of this series, Vegas didn’t seem to play their style of hockey. They were slower than Vancouver and couldn’t establish their forecheck early on in the game. Vegas let Vancouver back into this series when they had two chances, including this game, to close out this series. Their defense has been sloppy and their offense has been loose. Vegas doesn’t give themselves enough time to set up their offense and tries to force plays that aren’t there.
Vegas also has to cut down on the turnovers and penalties since it seems like Vancouver has picked up momentum and confidence heading into the next game. And, Vegas can fix these issues by getting back to the simple fundamentals of the game: good puck support and simple play making.
Also, their power play hasn’t been the same. They haven’t converted a power play since Game 4 and that’s a cause for concern especially heading into Game 7.
The one other big question is who will start in net for the next game. Lehner played great in this game despite letting in three goals. Though, his own defenseman Shea Theodore blocked his vision that let in two of those Vancouver goals. You should probably expect Marc-Andre Fleury to start in net in this crucial Game 7 but don’t be surprised if head coach Peter DeBoer goes with Lehner again.
Consistency is key and if Vegas wants to get back to the Stanley Cup Final they have to find their game again and establish it early on. This team knows how to win games. It’s just a matter of readjusting and tweaking up some things on both ends of the ice.
Game 7 of the Canucks-Golden Knights series is on Sept. 4 at 9 p.m. EST.