The Vegas Golden Knights hammered Vancouver Canucks 5-0 in the first game of the Western Conference semifinals.
One of the top candidates for taking this year’s Stanley Cup, displayed all of its power, smashing the team from Canada, and eventually chasing away their goalie Jacob Markstrom of the net. Travis Green decided to switch his goaltenders with 8:26 to go, putting in Thatcher Demko in, after Markstrom allowed five goals in 34 shots.
On the other side, the Knights’ goalie Robin Lehner posted his first shootout in the postseason, recording 26 saves, and his sixth win over the previous seven starts in this playoff. It appears that trash talk with Canucks’ forward Antoine Rousell motivated the 29-year old who would admit that following the match.
I hope he keeps going because he’s just poking the bear,” he said.
Jonathan Marchessault scored the opening goal for the Knights, with a wrist shot with 8:23 to go inside the first. After that, his team was furious in the second frame, scoring three goals, the first one on a power play at 2:13. Reilly Smith followed the action well, and scored on a rebound.
Mark Stone added his name to the scoresheet with 11:35 of the same, and Alex Tuch scored for 4-0 at 16:34, indicating a catastrophe for the Canucks, who eliminated the NHL champions St. Louis Blues in the first round.
end of 2
mood: the opposite of this 👇 pic.twitter.com/eBfgOuf1mz
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) August 24, 2020
Max Pacioretty netted for 5-0 in the middle of the final frame to set the final score and to wrap up a 1-0 lead in the series for his crew.
What made the difference in this opening event of this matchup was Knights’ aggressiveness and toughness. They outmuscled Vancouver all over the ice, imposing a physical style of play that didn’t suit the Canadians at all. Ryan Reaves was the main problem for the guys from up north, as he recorded 11 hits last night.
Knights are widely regarded as the top favorite for taking the trophy, as they seem in the best shape at the moment of all. They eliminated the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round, 4-1, and that defeat was the lone one since coming back from pause.
The Canucks were better than the Blues, but they need to increase the level of play; otherwise, Green’s boys are facing a quick sweep here. Game 2 is this Tuesday at 9:45 pm ET.