The Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of the First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Golden Knights also won Game 2 in overtime with a score of 4-3. Here is the recap for Game 3 between the Golden Knights and Blackhawks.
The Blackhawks knew they were in a must-win situation so they came out pressurizing the Golden Knights on defense. But, the Golden Knights wouldn’t back down either and took on the challenge. For the first 10 minutes of the period, the Blackhawks were able to get a decent amount of shots on goal for the first time this series. However, it would be the Golden Knights again that score first. Golden Knights forward William Karlsson scored shorthanded to get the game’s first goal. But, Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane had a chance to tie the game on a power play but he hit yet another post. This time he had an empty net to shoot at but couldn’t convert it.
Vegas went into the second period with a 1-0.
This period was all about the Golden Knights. In previous games, this is the one period the Golden Knights struggle in. Not in this game. They outshot the Blackhawks 12-7 with one going into the net. Golden Knights forward Patrick Brown scored his first NHL Stanley Cup Playoff goal and extended the Golden Knights’ lead to two. However, Blackhawks forward Alex DeBrincat had six shots on goal but Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury stopped all six of his shot attempts. The Golden Knights also established their defensive presence during this period by forcing the Blackhawks to turnover the puck.
Vegas went into the third period with a 2-0 lead.
It was a tale of two periods for both teams. The Golden Knights usually thrive in the third period but it was the Blackhawks who took over the majority of this period. Since Brown’s goal, the Golden Knights hadn’t landed a shot on goal in over 14 minutes. In that time, the Blackhawks were able to get on the board and cut the lead down to one. Blackhawks defenseman Olli Maatta scored with 13:39 left in the period. However, the Golden Knights would not back down and took the game back into their hands in the last 10 minutes of the game. The Golden Knights also started to get scoring chances after Maatta’s goal which enabled them to build up momentum again. Though they weren’t able to score, they were able to kill off time so that the Blackhawks didn’t have a chance to tie the game again.
Vegas won the game 2-1 and extended their series lead 3-0.
Three Stars of the Game
Third Star: Corey Crawford (24 saves)
Second Star: Patrick Brown (1 goal)
First Star: Marc-Andre Fleury (26 saves)
Vegas Golden Knights
If you thought Game 3 was a close game, Game 4 was even closer. For the first time in this series, Vegas was outshot by Chicago by only one shot (27-26). With that said, Vegas has to find a way to sustain defensive pressure on Chicago for the entire 60 minutes. Otherwise, Chicago would go on an offensive barrage and get the puck to the net at will.
However, when Vegas did show their strong defense they were able to limit Chicago’s shot attempts and forced them to make turnovers. It was a back and forth game for sure but that’s what playoff hockey is supposed to be. How they manage that part of the playoffs is up to the players on the ice especially heading into Game 4. Vegas has a chance to win the series tomorrow night and move on to the second round.
Another question that needs to be asked is if Fleury will start in net the next game or will Vegas goaltender Robin Lehner be back in net for Game 4. Some people say that Vegas only has one starting goaltender. That’s completely false. Vegas has two starting goaltenders in Fleury and Lehner.
On the other hand, Chicago knows they need to win Game 4 otherwise they’ll be going back home. The one thing that has killed Chicago this series is defense granted this game was their best defensive game in this series. They didn’t allow Vegas to get a shot on goal 14 minutes after Brown scored a goal. Also, Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford probably played his best game this series only allowing two goals.
However, they have to find ways to capitalize on their chances. They’ve done it in the last game when they forced the game into overtime. But, this is especially true for Kane. Kane has probably hit the post more times than he’s given out assists in this series so far. But, it’s not just Kane who has to find ways to score. DeBrincat probably had the most scoring chances on his team. If they can find ways to score in Game 4, then they may have a chance of forcing a Game 5.
Game 4 of the Golden Knights-Blackhawks series is on Aug. 17 at 6:30 p.m. EST.