Golden knights
Photo Credit: NHL

Preview: Golden Knights vs Canucks – 2nd Round – Game 1

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The Vegas Golden Knights will take on the Vancouver Canucks in the Western Conference Semi-Finals. VGK won one of their matchups in regulation and lost the other in overtime during the regular season.

 

I could write a similar series preview for Vancouver as I did for Chicago. The Canucks have plenty of skill in Tyler Motte, Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, Bo Horvat, and Quinn Hughes, to name a few. So again, we can basically wash the top six for each team from a skill perspective. That leaves the “x-factor,” Alex Tuch, to lead line three to victory for VGK. Line three, defense, and goaltending is what will hopefully lead VGK to their second Conference Finals appearance in three seasons.

Simply put, VGK is deeper and more experienced than Vancouver.

 

Golden Knights
Photo Credit: Vegas Golden Knights

Like it or not, VGK has a goalie controversy. Robin Lehner and Marc-Andre Fleury have said all the right things. Coach Pete DeBoer maintains that it is not about anything that Fleury has not done, but Lehner has elevated his game to a level that warrants him starting.

I have said this many times; coach DeBoer has no emotional ties to any player on the Golden Knights. DeBoer was brought here to do one thing, win a Stanley Cup. He is going to set the lineup nightly based on what he feels gives his team the best chance to win.

Would there be a goaltending controversy if Gerard Gallant were still coaching VGK? Of course not, he would start Fleury nineteen of twenty games in the regular season and one hundred percent of the playoff games. Deryk Engelland would also start every night over Zach Whitecloud. Fleury has not said anything to the media indicating any level of trouble…however, we are going to get to know the name “Allan Walsh” well in Vegas. Bonus points for anyone who knew who Allan Walsh was before August 22nd, 2020. This is what Walsh had to say about the VGK goaltending situation.

 

Well Vegas, we finally have our first high-level distraction.

 

Golden Knights
Photo Credit: Allan Walsh Twitter

Side note, thankfully, our first high-level distraction did not involve one of our players running up a $500K gambling debt and not paying or player “X” constantly partying every night at the club. By the way, Mr. Walsh is Fleury’s agent. It is very unfortunate that Walsh would choose now to tweet something like this.

If there is a positive, the players are much more restricted due to COVID-19. Fewer media is around to shove a camera in everyone’s face trying to get that hot take. But this is still a distraction, and every VGK player that is obligated to get in front of a camera will be asked about this, including Fleury. It will be interesting to see how the players tiptoe around this situation. Most, if not all, players and staff will take the highroad I would expect.

That does not mean you will not be able to find clues within their answers. VGK has always had a tight locker room with a team before individual mentality, and Walsh’s tweet will test that. I do not think this tweet necessarily means that Fleury is in his final year as a Golden Knight, but the door is open for the Flower to move on potentially. Maybe he catches on with a mid-level contender for the 2020-2021 season and leads the Seattle Kracken to the Western Conference Finals in their inaugural season in 2021-2022? Seems impossible, right? Remember, Vegas has lived the impossible.

 

Golden Knights vs. Canucks series & T.V. info

Sunday, Aug. 23, 7:30 p.m.: Canucks @ Golden Knights | NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS
Tuesday, Aug. 25, 6:45 p.m.: Canucks @ Golden Knights | NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS
Thursday, Aug. 27, 6:45 p.m.: Golden Knights @ Canucks | NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS
Saturday, Aug. 29, 5 p.m.: Golden Knights @ Canucks | NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS
*Monday, Aug. 31, TBD: Canucks @ Golden Knights | TBD
*Tuesday, Sept. 1, TBD: Golden Knights @ Canucks | TBD
*Thursday, Sept. 3, TBD: Canucks @ Golden Knights | TBD

 

The Golden Knights magic number to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup is at 12!

GO KNIGHTS GO!

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-Chris Gawlik – Franchise Sports Media

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