The Vegas Golden Knights dominated and defeated the Vancouver Canucks in Game 1 of the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Golden Knights are one of three round robin teams that advanced to the second round. The defending champions St. Louis Blues were eliminated by the Canucks in six games during the first round.
Here is the recap for Game 1 between the Golden Knights and Canucks.
Even though they had a few days off, the Golden Knights didn’t show any signs of slowing down. However, the turnover problem for the Golden Knights continued to persist in this period alone. The Canucks put heavy pressure on the Golden Knights early on and got decent scoring chances on net. But, it would be Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault who scored the series’ first goal 11:37 into the game.
Vegas went into the second period with a 1-0 lead.
Whoever said the Golden Knights weren’t good in second periods? Apparently not the Golden Knights themselves because they scored three unanswered goals in a span of 14:21. Golden Knights forward Reilly Smith started the scoring barrage 2:13 into the period. Then, Golden Knights forwards Mark Stone and Alex Tuch added on to their team’s lead 3:59 apart. However, there was a time when the Canucks had the Golden Knights on their heels for a few minutes. But, that was before the Golden Knights came back and sustained offensive pressure in the Canucks zone for over a minute.
Vegas went into the third period with a 4-0 lead.
This period was a bit fairer in that the Canucks were able to hang with the Golden Knights and their speed and quickness. However, Vegas is the city that never sleeps and they made sure to add one more while the net was still open. Well, Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom was still in net, but it didn’t matter too much. Golden Knights forward Max Pacioretty scored 10:47 into the period to extend their lead to five. After a TV timeout, Markstrom was pulled out of his net and was replaced by Thatcher Demko. This would be the first time Markstrom had been pulled out of the net this postseason.
Vegas won the game 5-0 and took the series lead 1-0.
Three Stars of the Game
Third Star: Robin Lehner (26 saves)
Second Star: Alex Tuch (1 goal, 1 assist)
First Star: Mark Stone (1 goal, 1 assist)
Vegas Golden Knights
For Vegas Golden Knights fans, they should be happy about how they started this series. Vegas practically outplayed Vancouver in almost every aspect of this game. They outshot them 39-26 and outhit them 54-45. Defensively, Vegas forward Ryan Reaves was the biggest pest for Vancouver forward Antoine Roussel who tried to look for a fight.
However, the turnover problem still exists and Vancouver could’ve made this game different had they capitalized on their chances. But, this is a problem that can be fixed prior to Game 2. Another issue that arose from this game was the faceoffs. Vancouver won 63.5 percent of the faceoffs in this game while Vegas only won 36.5% of them. Again, this is a problem that should be fixed prior to their next game.
Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury’s agent Allan Walsh had tweeted a now deleted photo of Fleury being stabbed by a sword with Vegas head coach Pete DeBoer’s name on it. And, Vegas not only won the game but dominated it. If this team can play with outside distractions and still win the game, then there’s no doubt that this team can make another run to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Vancouver was just coming off a six-game series against the defending champions but that’s no excuse for their performance in this game. The team that played against the Blues didn’t show up in this game. They were simply outplayed and didn’t adjust to Vegas’ gameplan. Markstrom also had a bad showing this game after averaging a .929 save percentage during the series against the Blues.
They also seemed like they didn’t like Vegas’ defensive pressure as the game went along especially from their fourth line, or, as they call themselves, the “meat grinder line”. Roussel tried to get into the Vegas players’ heads especially during warmups when he went up to Vegas goaltender Robin Lehner. But, Roussel had to deal with Reaves and ended up getting a 10 minute misconduct penalty for wanting a fight. Whether Reaves got to his head is up for debate but that’s probably how Roussel ended up with the penalty.
However, there were a couple of positives Vancouver took away from this game. And, that was winning the faceoffs. As mentioned earlier, Vancouver won 63.5 percent of the faceoffs to Vegas’ 36.5 percent. They also were able to put pressure on Vegas defensively which showed at the start of this game.
Game 2 of the Golden Knights-Canucks series is on Aug. 25 at 9:45 p.m. EST.