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FSM Essential Recap: VGK vs Blackhawks – 8/13/2020

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The Chicago Blackhawks gave the Vegas Golden Knights all they had, but in the end, it was not enough. VGK needed an additional thirteen minutes, but they take a 2-0 series lead.

 

 

Golden Knights
Photo Credit: Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images

Vegas had a much better start as they went into the first intermission with a 2-0 lead off goals from Reilly Smith and Tomas Nosek. It appeared that Vegas might run away with this one, but Chicago played a solid second period.

Kirby Dach, Dominik Kubalik, and Dylan Strome all scored goals. Robin Lehner would undoubtedly love to have Kubalik’s goal back. Mark Stone logged the loan tally for Vegas in the second, leaving the teams tied going into the second intermission. The teams traded chances in the third, but no one could find the back of the net. Dylan Strome thought he logged the game-winner in overtime when he hit the post.

The teams continued to trade chances until Reilly Smith ended it off a beautiful centering pass from Paul Stastny.

 

Tomas Nosek left the game with an injury in the second period and Max Pacioretty was “unfit to play.” Assuming Nosek and Pacioretty are unavailable for game three, coach Pete DeBoer has some options.

 

Golden Knighhts vs Blackhawks
Photo Credit: The Rink

If they want to bring up a skill player like Peyton Krebs, possibly the play would be to drop Chandler Stephenson to the third line with Alex Tuch and Nicolas Roy. Nick Cousins to line four. The move would reunite the “meatgrinders” line with William Carrier and Ryan Reaves. The other option would be to leave the top line intact, move Nicolas Roy or Nick Cousins to centerline four, and then take your pick of Patrick Brown, Keegan Kolesar, or Gage Quinney.

I want to see Peyton Krebs in the lineup. He had a solid “second” camp with the team and stayed in Mark Stone’s house. I am sure he learned plenty in his few weeks with Mark Stone and can contribute. All of this is assuming Pacioretty is unable to return on Saturday for game three.

 

Now to what will be a question prior to nearly every game for as long as VGK in the playoffs.

 

Marc Andre Fleury or Robin Lehner for game three? Lehner was solid but also whiffed on Chicago’s second goal. My guess is Fleury for game three and Lehner for game four on the backend of the back to back.

Chicago played tough and was able to open this one up a bit. They found much more room on the ice than in game one and were able to create room for their skill players to operate. Look for Vegas to try to slow down the pace for game three.

 

 

Game 1 Quotes:

 

Golden Knights
Photo Credit: Second City Hockey

“He’s come back from the pause and has got a lot of confidence, a lot of energy; he’s healthy,” coach Peter DeBoer said about Reilly Smith. “He’s really driving a lot of plays for us and important plays.”

“He steps up every night,” Smith said of Stastny. “He does everything, so it’s nice to see him get rewarded.”

“I think we played a better team game today,” said Strome, who hit the crossbar early in overtime. “We did a good job of holding their forwards up coming into the zone and giving our D a little more time. We’ve got to continue to do that and be ready for this next game.”

“I thought Chicago played really well,” said Lehner, who signed with the Blackhawks last summer and was traded to Vegas at the deadline. “Everyone keeps saying they’re underdogs, but you look at their team, the experience, the skill — it’s Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane out there. It’s a lot of skill, and they’re world-class players, so when they get opportunities, it’s hard.”

 

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
*Tuesday, Aug. 18: Chicago at Vegas – TBD
*Thursday, Aug. 20: Vegas at Chicago – TBD
*Saturday, Aug. 22: Chicago at Vegas – TBD

*if necessary

 

 

The magic number for the Golden Knights to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup is now 14.

Go Knights Go!

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-Chris Gawlik – Franchise Sports Media

Twitter: TDChrisG

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