3 Keys: Golden Knights vs. Canucks, Game 4 of Western Second Round

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No. 1 Golden Knights vs. No. 5 Canucks 

10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS 

Vegas leads best-of-7 series, 2-1

The Vegas Golden Knights didn’t name a starting goalie against the Vancouver Canucks in Game 4 of the Western Conference Second Round at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Sunday.

It’s the second of a back-to-back. Vegas won 3-0 in Game 3 on Saturday in Edmonton, the Western hub city.

Golden Knights goalie Robin Lehner, who is 7-2-0 with a 2.08 goals-against average, .921 save percentage and two shutouts in the postseason, started the past five games, including the win against the Canucks on Saturday. He is 4-4-0 in nine games against the Canucks (regular season and Stanley Cup Playoffs), with each of his four wins a shutout. 

Marc-Andre Fleury has started twice in this postseason for Vegas and is 2-0-0 with a 2.50 GAA and .886 save percentage.

“There’s a very tight group in this locker room, and we’re all supportive of each other,” Lehner said. “Whoever plays, everyone supports, so it’s a good situation inside the locker room and hope everyone can just get behind that.”

Jacob Markstrom has started all 13 postseason games for the Canucks. He’s 8-5 with a 2.68 GAA, .924 save percentage and one shutout. Thatcher Demko allowed no goals on five shots in 8:26 of relief in his only postseason appearance, a 5-0 loss in Game 1. 

Teams that win Game 3 after a Stanley Cup Playoff series is tied 1-1 are 218-107 (67.1 percent) winning a best-of-7 series, including 3-1 in the first round.

Here are 3 keys for Game 4:

 

1. Scoring first

The Golden Knights are 7-0-0 when scoring first this postseason; they are the only undefeated team among the eight remaining in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Canucks are 7-1-0 when scoring the first goal, including a 5-2 win in Game 2 when they scored the first two goals.

“In a series like this, it’s really important to get the first goal and not fall behind and chase the game,” Lehner said.

 

2. Canucks power play

The Canucks rank second among the eight remaining teams in the playoffs on the power play (22.6 percent) but are 1-for-11 (9.1 percent) against the Golden Knights in three games.

Vancouver, fourth in the League on the power play (24.2 percent) during the regular season, was 0-for-5 in Game 3, including a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:18 in the first period when Lehner made three saves.

“It’s about limiting their Grade A opportunities, trying your best to stay in lanes and take away those scoring chances,” Golden Knights defenseman Zach Whitecloud said. “You just try to go out there, do your job, and execute.”

 

3. Keeping it simple

Forward Tanner Pearson said the Canucks need to get back to basics when creating opportunities in the Golden Knights zone.

“I think when we move the puck too much, especially through neutral zone, it’s evident, it’s not too hard to figure out,” Pearson said. “You look at the game we won, we chipped a lot of pucks in, and then chased it that way and got in on our forecheck and it worked out for us. 

“I think when we’re down, we have to keep it simple, keep to our game and not try to force too much.”

 

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 Whitecloud — Nick 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

 

Canucks projected lineup

Tanner Pearson — Elias PetterssonTyler Toffoli

J.T. MillerBo HorvatBrock Boeser

Antoine RousselAdam GaudetteBrandon Sutter

Tyler MotteJay BeagleJake Virtanen

Alexander EdlerTroy Stecher

Quinn HughesChristopher Tanev

Oscar FantenbergJordie Benn

Jacob Markstrom

Thatcher Demko

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

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

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