Golden knights vs blackhawks
Courtesy: AP Photo/John Locher

Preview: Golden Knights vs Blackhawks – 1st Round – Game 3

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Tonight, the Vegas Golden Knights take on the Chicago Blackhawks in Edmonton at 5pm.

 

Golden Knights
Photo Credit: Second City Hockey

Chicago is looking to avoid the devastating 3-0 series deficit. Vegas dominated game one, and Chicago came within inches of tying the series in overtime in game two. Chicago will be in their red sweaters and the designated home team. Can Coach Jeremy Colliton find creative ways to get Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews on the ice and create mismatches for the Golden Knights?

“Disappointing, because I thought we played hard,” Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton said. “At the same time, we’ve got to keep improving. We’re not out of it. We’re going to regroup and come out raring to go in Game 3.”

For Chicago, the game plan is simple, keep the ice open and the pace as fast as possible. The Blackhawks can match offensive firepower with any team in the league. Plus, Corey Crawford has let a few soft goals in through the first two games. Chicago needs four or more goals to have a path to victory.

 

For Vegas, the game plan is also simple, keep the ice-clogged and a slower pace of play.

 

Vegas can match the offensive firepower that Chicago has, but that is not the optimal path to victory. Wear Chicago down like how the first two periods went in game one and Chicago should crack in the third period.

 

Golden Knights vs Stars
Photo courtesy of insidehockey.com

“Our group knows they want to be here for the long haul, and that’s going to be a piece of it,” Vegas coach Pete DeBoer told reporters on Friday.

Robin Lehner has started both games in goal for Vegas, but will likely sit one of the back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday. Marc-Andre Fleury would start in the other game, bringing 79 playoff wins and three Stanley Cup titles on his resume.

“I think I’ve been clear since we started this that we’ve got two starters,” DeBoer said. “How I roll them out is going to be day to day based on what I feel gives us the best chance to win a game, and win a series. That’s not going to change.”

 

 

The Golden Knights have three major question marks coming into game three:

 

  1. Robin Lehner or Marc-Andre Fleury? Honestly, who cares!? We have two starters who can get the job done. Expect to see both goalies get starts over the next two games. If the series goes five games, I expect the game five starter to be who performs best in games three and four.
  2. Will Tomas Nosek and Max Pacioretty be “fit to play?” If either is good to go, expect the lines to be how they were in game one if Max returns or how they were in game two if Max can not return, but Nosek can.
  3. If Nosek and Pacioretty are both out, who dresses, and how do the lines look? I think the two front runners would be Patrick Brown and Peyton Krebs. Patrick Brown has the most NHL experience when comparing to Krebs, Keegan Kolesar, and Gage QuinneyBrown would play more of a grinder role and can be inserted into line three or four. Peyton Krebs would be more a skilled role and could go right to the top line alongside William Karlsson and Mark Stone. It will be interesting to see which way Coach Pete DeBoer decides to go.

 

Although plenty of uncertainty exists as to what the VGK lineup will be, one thing is for sure, Chicago is desperate for a victory, or their season is as good as over.

 

Series game schedule:

 

Tuesday, Aug. 11: Vegas 4, Chicago 1
Thursday, Aug. 13: Vegas 4, Chicago 3 (OT)
Saturday, Aug. 15: Vegas at Chicago, 5 p.m. PT – NBC
Sunday, Aug. 16: Vegas at Chicago, 3:30 p.m. PT – NBCSN/AT&T
*Tuesday, Aug. 18: Chicago at Vegas – TBD
*Thursday, Aug. 20: Vegas at Chicago – TBD
*Saturday, Aug. 22: Chicago at Vegas – TBD

*if necessary

 

The puck drops Thursday at 5:00 PM and can be seen on NBC Sports .

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-Chris Gawlik – Franchise Sports Media

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