Robin Lehner gets another shutout as Vegas Golden Knights takes top seed over Vancouver Canucks


EDMONTON – Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner was numbered for the Vancouver Canucks again on Saturday, stopping 32 shots in his second shutout of their NHL playoff series.Lehner backed the Golden Knights to a 3-0 victory, giving them a 2-1 advantage in the best of seven second-round series, with Game 4, on a short turnaround, for Sunday night.

Lehner, acquired by the trade deadline under a three-team contract including the Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks, stopped 26 shots for a 5-0 victory in Game 1 of the series.

Vancouver came out flying in the first period, edging Vegas 16-10 and enjoying a 5-3 power play of 78 seconds. Lehner ruled out a plethora of high-quality scoring opportunities: single shots from close range, transition blasts, redirects, and loose pucks bouncing through the blue paint.

“We dug and got some big saves from Robin. I thought he was our best player in the first 10 minutes, ”said Vegas head coach Peter DeBoer.

“They had a few stares (the whole game) and when they did, Robin was right. He didn’t leave a puck lying around. There were no rebounds. He swallowed everything. ”

Lehner said it was a group effort.

“I thought everyone was doing a great job participating and working hard, blocking shots and doing all the right things,” he said.

“It was really important for the momentum of the game to try to get ahead and not chase after the game.

“They had a little boost in the first half, but I thought we resumed the game after that. ”

While Lehner closed the door, Tissu Alex, with his seventh goal of the postseason, Mark Stone, and Zack Whitecloud scored for Vegas.

Jacob Markstrom, making his 13th start in the playoffs, made 31 saves for Vancouver.

Tuch scored the first at 4:05 of the first period. Running mid-flight through the neutral zone, he splits the defense, settles on a bouncing pass Nicolas roy and launched a rocket fire past Markstrom in the upper corner.

Just 83 seconds later, it was 2-0 when Whitecloud jumped on a loose puck in the right face-off circle, pulled it through traffic and inside. Early in the third, Stone covered a floating puck from the power-play face-off circle. for a 3-0 advantage. It was his second goal of the series and sixth of the playoffs.

Vancouver forward JT Miller said coming empty on the 5v3 was a factor of the difference.

“We performed about as well as possible, I think. The goalkeeper made some great saves, Miller said. “We could have easily equalized the game or come back to close. ”

The Canucks rebounded from the Game 1 shutout to beat Vegas 5-2 in Game 2. Vancouver forward Tanner Pearson said they had to go back to this game plan.

“I think there were spurts in the game where we went a few minutes without a shot on goal. It changes the momentum a bit, ”Pearson said.

He said they can’t get past the puck: “You watch the game we won, we shot a lot of pucks and we chased it that way and put our chess forward and it worked for us. . When we’re down, we ‘I have to keep it simple and stick to our game and not try to push too hard. ”

The teams had not played since Tuesday. The NHL did not play its scheduled games Thursday or Friday after players at playoff venues Edmonton and Toronto wanted to make a statement highlighting issues of social injustice, systemic racism and police brutality.

NBA players sparked a series of postponed games in the sports world when the Milwaukee Bucks refused to play their playoff game against Orlando on Wednesday following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man, in the Wisconsin last weekend.

The Golden Knights can earn a 3-1 stranglehold on the series with a win on Sunday.

For Vancouver, the concern will be Markstrom and puck fatigue. The 30-year-old Swede is set to start on Sunday, which will be his 14th game in 29 days and his third straight. He’s been the backbone of the Canucks’ playoff success, but he’s consistently faced over 30 shots a night in the postseason.

Its safeguard is Thatcher Demko. Demko started only 34 games in his first three seasons and didn’t make the playoffs, except for some cleanup time in the third period in the 5-0 loss.

Vegas has a seasoned veteran Marc-André Fleury reserved. Fleury eliminated Lehner once in the round robin series and again for a first round game against the Chicago Blackhawks. DeBoer said the plan was to play both.

All games are played in front of empty seats at Rogers Place. Players are isolated between competitions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on August 29, 2020.


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