Golden Knights vs Canucks
Photo Credit: NHL

Preview: Golden Knights vs Canucks – 2nd Round – Game 5


The Vegas Golden Knights look to eliminate Vancouver in game five of the Western Conference Finals tonight.


A win means Vegas would advance to their second Conference Finals within three years of existence.  A loss and the VGK faithful would have memories of last year creeping back.  A team with their backs against the wall and nothing to lose will be a tough out.  Expect Vancouver to set a fast pace early and try to dominate physically.  Vegas should be OK if they avoid giving up an early goal.


Golden Knights vs Canucks
Photo Credit: Coast Mountain News

Jon Merrill got his first action of the 2020 postseason on Sunday night and logged an assist on the game-tying goal.  Nick Holden was a healthy scratch per Coach Pete DeBoer.  It will be interesting to see if Merrill makes consecutive starts or if Holden returns to the lineup.

Marc Andre Fleury had a fine game.  As it went on, he seemed to have more confidence.  Nate Schmidt stated that “Flower’s a big part of our room even if he’s not starting, he’s a huge part of our room.  So when he gets in there, the guys are pretty fired up… When you head into the third-period guys weren’t happy with how we played the last 10 minutes of the 2nd, and so the message was just more if we get to our game that we’ll be able to get one and help Flower get into the win category and help our team get a 3-1 lead here.”

Simply put, the team felt like they were letting Fleury down and made sure to figure things out, heading into the third period.

DeBoer has a great “ace in the hole” with Fleury.  Robin Lehner is the starter, that’s old news.  But when Fleury enters the lineup, every player is going to step up their game.  I guess the hope is that Fleury maintains his one-start-per-round average.  That means things are going well, but if we need a spark, Fleury is our go-to.


In other NHL news, the Tampa Bay Lightning will be the first team to join the bubble in Edmonton from the Eastern Conference. 


The Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Finals will all be played in EdmontonTampa won four straight games after dropping the first game of the series. Tampa is on a mission to avenge their first-round upset from last year.


Golden Knights vs Canucks
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The New York Islanders hope to close out the Philadelphia Flyers tonight as they lead that series three games to one.  Barry Trotz has that team playing exceptionally well, and Tampa will have their hands full.  Assuming the Islanders and Lightning meet in the Eastern Conference Finals, that would be an extremely fast-paced series.

The Colorado Avalanche are clinging to life against the Dallas Stars, trailing that series three games to two.  The Stars and Avalanche are both loaded with talent, and I do not think VGK should “hope” to face one team over the other.  Both teams are well-coached with talent amongst all lines. The playoffs are usually about dirty goals and low scoring games, but the Stars and Avalanche did not get that memo. 8.6 is the average total goals scored per game between those two franchises in their series.  For comparison, 6.4 is the average total goals scored per game in VGK’sseries versus Chicago and Vancouver.  At this point, all VGK should be hoping for is a seven-game series between the Avalanche and Stars.  Hopefully, the seventh game goes into triple overtime, and the first game of the Conference Finals is less than forty-eight hours later.

Making the Conference Finals should be deemed a successful season for most NHL franchises.  Remember, VGK was on the bubble for a playoff spot for portions of the season.  A trip to the Conference Finals in two of a franchise’s first three seasons is unimaginable.  It almost seems impossible.  But remember, in Vegas, we have lived the impossible.


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 9!


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-Chris Gawlik – Franchise Sports Media

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