Golden Knights
Photo Credit: NHL

Preview: Golden Knights vs Canucks – 2nd Round – Game 3


Tonight, the Vegas Golden Knights take on the Vancouver Canucks in an all-important game three of the Western Conference Semi-Finals.  Vegas won game one in dominating fashion 5-0 and Vancouver answered with a 5-2 victory.


Golden Knights
Photo Credit: Nucks Misconduct

What will we see from Vegas in game 3? The Golden Knights had forty shots on goal in game two, and Vancouver also blocked forty shots.

“The idea is not to block every shot.  The idea is to make your opponent believe that you might block every shot.” – Bill Russell. So, will the extraordinary shot-blocking effort put forth by Vancouver cause Vegas to be a bit more selective about their shot attempts?

Perhaps VGK will make one extra move or pass to find a better lane to the net? I guess it is the whole “quality versus quantity” argument. An extra move or pass can lead to no shot attempt at all.

Then we are going back to “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”Wayne Gretzky.  Personally, I say shoot early and often. Playoff hockey can be about getting traffic to the net and scoring dirty goals.


Coach Pete DeBoer has not been afraid to make controversial decisions when it comes to the lineup.


Golden Knights
Photo Credit: Second City Hockey

Marc-Andre Fleury has been the backup goalie in the postseason to date. I am not buying Pete DeBoer, saying that he does not have a starting goalie. Robin Lehner is the starting goalie for the Vegas Golden Knights. Even if Marc-Andre Fleury starts game three, Robin Lehner is the starting goalie of the Vegas Golden Knights.

Now, if Fleury starts games three and four, I will buy more into the concept of VGK having two starting goalies. But, for now, Robin Lehner is the starting goalie of the Golden Knights. I think game three is an audition for Fleury, a win, and a solid performance in game three equals a game four start for Fleury. It is also important to note that games four and five will be back to back days.

It is possible that Fleury and Lehner alternate games three, four, and five, no matter the outcome.


Sticking with the lineup discussion, DeBoer will make on the fly changes to the lines when he feels the need to get a spark.


All four forward lines saw changes throughout game two. It appeared to be working in the second period as VGK looked great for exactly eighteen minutes and thirty-five seconds until a catastrophic breakdown off a faceoff in the defensive zone.

Game two was more about VGK defensive breakdowns than Vancouver battling back. Credit Vancouver for taking advantage of the opportunities they were given, but do not expect Vegas to have similar breakdowns. Game one was over once Mark Stone made it 3-0 midway through the second period.


Golden Knights
Photo Credit: Coast Mountain News

Vegas was basically going through the motions and was on cruise control for the final twenty-eight minutes. Vancouver game out fast to start game three, and it took a full period for Vegas to get their legs back. Vegas spent all of game two trailing, so expect Vegas to shoot early and often. If Vancouver can win the first ten minutes of the game, they may win the game.

It is not out of the realm of possibility for Vegas to put up seventeen shots on goal while holding Vancouver to under ten shots on goal in the first period. Can Vegas get enough quality shots on goal, or will Vancouver keep the path to the net jammed up as they did in game two?


Game three is a big one, it will be the most intense game of the 2020 playoffs for either team.  Expect both teams to try and establish physical dominance with plenty of activity after the whistle.



Golden Knights vs. Canucks series & T.V. info

Game 1: Golden Knights 5, Canucks 0
Game 2: Canucks 5,  Golden Knights 2  
Game 3: Thursday, Aug. 27, 6:45 p.m.: Golden Knights @ Canucks | NBCSN
Game 4: Saturday, Aug. 29, 5 p.m.: Golden Knights @ Canucks | NBCSN
*Game 5: Monday, Aug. 31, TBD: Canucks @ Golden Knights | TBD
*Game 6: Tuesday, Sept. 1, TBD: Golden Knights @ Canucks | TBD
*Game 7: Thursday, Sept. 3, TBD: Canucks @ Golden Knights | TBD

*If necessary


The Golden Knights magic number to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup is at 11!


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-Chris Gawlik – Franchise Sports Media

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