3 Keys: Canucks vs. Golden Knights, Game 2 of Western Second Round

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No. 5 Canucks vs. No. 1 Golden Knights

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

Vegas leads best-of-7 series, 1-0

Jacob Markstrom is expected to make his 12th straight start in goal for the Vancouver Canucks when they play the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 2 of the Western Conference Second Round at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Tuesday.

Markstrom allowed five goals on 34 shots in 51:34 before being replaced by Thatcher Demko, who made five saves in relief, in a 5-0 loss to the Golden Knights in Game 1 on Sunday in Edmonton, the Western hub city. It was the first time Markstrom didn’t finish a game this postseason. 

“I can tell you one thing … [Markstrom] doesn’t have to worry about anything,” Canucks coach Travis Green said. “I don’t think he had that bad of a game, to be honest. He’s a rock for us and he’ll be a rock for us for the rest of the playoffs.”

Robin Lehner is expected to make his fourth straight start for the Golden Knights after making 26 saves to earn his first NHL postseason shutout. Lehner is 9-1-0 with a 1.97 goals-against average, two shutouts, and .925 save percentage in the regular season and postseason since being acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs on Feb. 24 after the Chicago Blackhawks traded him to Toronto earlier that day. 

Teams that go up 2-0 are 328-51 (.865) winning a best-of-7 series NHL playoff series, including 4-0 in the first round this postseason.

Here are 3 keys to Game 2:

 

1. Containing Hughes 

Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes was a minus-3 with no shots on goal in Game 1. 

Hughes, a finalist for the Calder Trophy, awarded to the player voted to be the best rookie in the NHL, leads all first-year players with 10 points (one goal, nine assists) in 11 postseason games. He was held without a point for just the fourth time in the postseason Sunday.

“[Hughes] is one of the most confident and skilled players I’ve ever played with,” Canucks defenseman Christopher Tanev said. “Things aren’t going to go your way every night and you get back on the horse and go back at it tomorrow again. I have no doubt in my mind that he’s going to be fine and he’s going to be flying out there [in Game 2].”

 

2. Special teams 

The Golden Knights won the special teams battle in Game 1, going 1-for-3 on the power play and 1-for-1 on the penalty-kill. Vegas has taken the fewest penalties (25) of the eight remaining playoff teams and rank second in penalty killing among those eight teams (87.0 percent).

The Canucks, second on the power play of the eight remaining teams (11-for-43, 25.6 percent), will need to show more patience and persistence.

“[Vegas] is a pretty disciplined team,” Canucks forward Tanner Pearson said. “I think we have to play our game, move our feet, break off checks and make them hook, hold and grab. It may get called a little bit more.”

 

3. Facts on face-offs 

If there’s one area the Canucks can look to take advantage it’s on face-offs to retain possession. Vancouver won 63 percent of the draws taken in Game 1 with Bo Horvat (18-for-28; 64 percent), Jay Beagle (10-for-13, 77 percent) and Brandon Sutter (6-for-10, 60 percent) leading the way.

The Canucks rank third among the eight remaining teams in the playoffs with a 53.8 percent face-off efficiency. The Golden Knights rank last (45.9 percent). 

Success in this area could provide Vancouver more time with the puck and more scoring opportunities.

 

Canucks projected lineup

J.T. MillerElias PetterssonJake Virtanen

Tanner Pearson — Bo Horvat — Brock Boeser

Antoine RousselAdam Gaudette — Brandon Sutter

Tyler Motte — Jay Beagle — Loui Eriksson

Alexander EdlerTroy Stecher

Quinn Hughes — Christopher Tanev

Oscar FantenbergJordie Benn

Jacob Markstrom

Thatcher Demko

Scratched: Olli Juolevi, Justin Bailey, Jalen Chatfield, Louis Domingue, Tyler Graovac, Brogan Rafferty

Unfit to play: Micheal Ferland, Josh Leivo, Tyler Toffoli, Tyler Myers

 

Golden Knights projected lineup

Max PaciorettyWilliam KarlssonMark Stone

Reilly SmithPaul StastnyJonathan Marchessault

Nick CousinsNicolas RoyAlex Tuch

William CarrierChandler StephensonRyan Reaves

Shea TheodoreAlec Martinez

Brayden McNabbNate Schmidt

Zach WhitecloudNick Holden

Robin Lehner

Marc-Andre Fleury

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

Unfit to play: Tomas Nosek

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