3 Keys: Canucks vs. Golden Knights, Game 5 of Western Second Round

3 Keys: Canucks vs. Golden Knights, Game 5 of Western Second Round

No. 5 Canucks vs. No. 1 Golden Knights

9:45 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS

Vegas leads best-of-7 series, 3-1

The Vegas Golden Knights can become the first team in NHL history to reach the conference final at least twice in their first three seasons by defeating the Vancouver Canucks in Game 5 of the Western Conference Second Round at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Tuesday.

Four teams have reached the final four of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at least twice in their first three NHL seasons, three in seasons that had between three and 10 teams: the Montreal Canadiens (1918, ’19), Ottawa Senators (1919, ’20) and New York Rangers (1927, ’28 and ’29). The St. Louis Blues advanced to the semifinals in each of their first three NHL seasons out of the West Division (1968-70), which had only teams that joined the NHL with them in 1967-68.

The Golden Knights scored three goals in a span of 5:37 in the third period for a 5-3 win in Game 4 on Sunday in Edmonton, the Western hub city. Marc-Andre Fleury made 28 saves in his third start this postseason (3-0-0).

Jacob Markstrom has started all 14 postseason games for Vancouver. He’s 8-6 with a 2.85 goals-against average, .919 save percentage and one shutout. 

“We have to embrace the moment, and everything will fall into place,” Canucks forward Bo Horvat said. “The minute you start overthinking and gripping the stick too tight, that’s when it goes the opposite way. We know it’s do-or-die, and we just need to leave it all out there. 

“We have nothing to save it for … we’re going to be ready to go.”

Teams trailing 3-1 are 29-285 (9.8 percent) winning a best-of-7 playoff series, including 0-7 this season.

Here are 3 keys for Game 5:


1. Sealing the deal

The Golden Knights are determined to end the series but know it won’t come easy.

“Eliminating a team is always the toughest,” coach Peter DeBoer said. “You have to have that mindset that you know this is going to be the toughest game of the series and you have to go in prepared for that, with the right amount of attention to detail and desperation level in your game in order to send a team home. We know we’re going to need that.”  


2. Offense from defense

The Golden Knights have received offensive contributions from their defensemen. Four have scored at least one goal and seven at least one point.

Shea Theodore‘s four goals are tied with Miro Heiskanen of the Dallas Stars for second among defensemen in the postseason, one behind Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning. His 14 points are tied for second with Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche. Heiskanen is first with 18.

“We have a great group of defensemen back there,” Theodore said. “We’re keeping it simple. Personally, I’m just trying to do my job, trying to jump into the offense, but at the same time not give up anything defensively. I feel when I can do that, that’s when I’m most effective out there.”


3. Calling all scorers

Horvat (three goals), Elias Pettersson (two), Tyler Toffoli (two) and Tanner Pearson (one) are the only goal-scorers in the series for the Canucks. Quinn Hughes (three assists) and Alexander Edler (three assists) are the only defensemen with points. 

“Good teams have depth and they find scoring throughout their lineup,” coach Travis Green said. “Vegas has a good team and good teams have good players and four good lines. We got some depth scoring last series (against the St. Louis Blues in the first round) but I’m not going to start putting pressure on certain guys to score. You win and lose as a team and it’s not just about scoring throughout your bottom [six]. If you get it, that’s great, but you can still find ways to win if you don’t.”


Canucks projected lineup

Tanner Pearson — Elias Pettersson — Tyler Toffoli

J.T. Miller — Bo Horvat — Jake Virtanen

Antoine RousselAdam GaudetteBrock Boeser

Tyler MotteJay BeagleBrandon Sutter

Alexander Edler — Troy Stecher

Quinn Hughes — Christopher Tanev

Oscar FantenbergTyler Myers

Jacob Markstrom

Thatcher Demko

Scratched: Olli Juolevi, Justin Bailey, Jalen Chatfield, Louis Domingue, Tyler Graovac, Brogan Rafferty, Loui Eriksson, Jordie Benn

Unfit to play: Micheal Ferland, Josh Leivo


Golden Knights projected lineup

Max PaciorettyWilliam KarlssonMark Stone

Jonathan MarchessaultPaul StastnyReilly Smith

Nick CousinsNicolas RoyAlex Tuch

William CarrierChandler StephensonRyan Reaves

Alec Martinez — Shea Theodore

Brayden McNabbNate Schmidt

Jon MerrillZach Whitecloud

Robin Lehner

Marc-Andre Fleury

Scratched: Dylan Coghlan, Oscar Dansk, Reid Duke, Deryk Engelland, Nicolas Hague, Keegan Kolesar, Peyton Krebs, Nick Holden, Gage Quinney, Patrick Brown

Unfit to play: Tomas Nosek

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