The Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Vancouver Canucks in Game 3 of the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Canucks won Game 2 with a score of 5-2. Here is the recap of Game 3 between the Golden Knights and Canucks.
The first period saw both teams go on a fast paced start getting great scoring chances. However, the Canucks would get an early power play 1:25 into the game thanks to Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault who committed a tripping penalty. But, the Canucks weren’t able to convert on the man advantage all in part by Golden Knights’ goaltender Robin Lehner. And, the penalty kill paid off as Golden Knights forward Alex Tuch scored the game’s first goal. However, the Canucks would go on two straight power plays one of which was a 5-on-3 advantage. Again, Lehner and the Golden Knights penalty kill killed off both Canuck power plays. And, again, the Golden Knights would be rewarded as defenseman Zach Whitecloud scored his second goal in the postseason and his career. Despite being down 2-0, the Canucks led the Golden Knights in shots on goal outshooting them 16-9.
Vegas went into the second period with a 2-0 lead.
Again, both teams started off fast getting opportunistic scoring chances. However, it would be the Golden Knights that outshot the Canucks during this period 15-7. No goals were scored in this period but both teams showed each other different parts of their game. For one, both teams wanted to establish defensive presence in each other’s offensive zones. Though, it’s clear to say that the Golden Knights had the upperhand in that category. But, to credit the Canucks, they were able to get more shots on goal in this game than the last two games combined. Especially for Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes who the Golden Knights seem to pressure the most when the puck is on his stick.
Vegas held onto their 2-0 lead heading into the third period.
Just like the first period, there was an early power play this time for the Golden Knights. And, they were able to convert on it as Golden Knights forward Mark Stone scored 1:41 into the power play. From there, it was an all-around defensive matchup from both teams with great goaltending from both Lehner and Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom. Although the Canucks tried to make a last minute push for a miracle comeback, the Golden Knights held their ground and secured just their second shutout this postseason.
Vegas won the game 3-0 and took the series lead 2-1.
Three Stars of the Game
Third Star: Shea Theodore (1 assist)
Second Star: Alex Tuch (1 goal)
First Star: Robin Lehner (31 saves)
Vegas Golden Knights
Vegas responded really well this game after losing in Game 2. Their defensive coverage was better which, in turn, gave them offensive transition plays to happen. Thus, giving Tuch his fourth consecutive goal in four games. Also, they didn’t force any kind of offensive plays in their offensive zone. They made plays that were available to them rather than making plays that weren’t possible to make. Though, their first two power plays were a bit iffy as they weren’t able to generate shots on goal. But, Stone was able to capitalize on the team’s third power play which still makes this team lethal on special teams.
Lehner also played better in net tonight and was almost reminiscent of his performance in Game 1. Many thought that Marc-Andre Fleury would play this game given that they’re playing back-to-back games. But, Fleury might end up starting in net for Game 5. It wouldn’t be a surprise if head coach Pete DeBoer goes a different route and stays with Lehner. Whatever the case may be, Vegas has two goaltenders they can call upon to play in the postseason.
Also, despite still losing faceoffs in this series, Vegas nearly won half of the faceoff battles this game. Vancouver won 57.6% of the faceoffs while Vegas won 42.4%. If Vegas continually improves in the faceoffs during this series, there’s no doubt that they’d be that much more dangerous of a team.
Despite losing this game, Vancouver was able to hang with Vegas and make this game feel closer than it looks. They were able to outshoot them 16-9 in the first period and finished the game only being outshot by three goals 34-31. The two things that this team can’t rely on are the same two things that Chicago relied on: their offense and goaltender.
There’s no doubt that Vancouver has different weapons they can use on the offensive end. Look at Vancouver’s captain Bo Horvat for example. He has seven goals this postseason which leads the league in the goals category. And, there’s other players that can score too such as Elias Pettersson, J.T. Miller and Brock Boeser.
However, it seems like they rely a lot on Markstrom to make the huge saves especially when Vegas shoots within the low slot or just above it. Now let’s not get this twisted, Markstrom is one talented goaltender but the defense also can’t leave him out to dry.
Game 4 of the Golden Knights-Canucks series is on Aug. 30 at 10:30 p.m. EST.