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Golden Knights vs Blackhawks Game 5 Highlights

FSM Essential Recap: VGK vs Blackhawks – 8/19/2020

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The Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Chicago Blackhawks by a score of 4-3 to advance to the Western Conference Semi-Finals.

 

vgk vs blackhawks
Photo Credit: Second City Hockey

Vegas was trailed by two goals when Max Pacioretty was able to hit what was basically an empty net with thirty-one seconds remaining in the first. Just under one minute into the second period, Mark Stone was able to tip one in, and the game was tied. Patrick Kane found himself all alone with Robin Lehner after Nate Schmidt failed to clear the puck properly. Kane beat Lehner five-hole, and Chicago would take re-take the lead.

Thankfully, that would end up being the final time we would have to see Patrick Kane’s “showtime” celebration as that would be Chicago’s last goal of the extended 2019-2020 campaign.

Alec Martinez would tie the game on the powerplay off a sweet feed from Reilly Smith, and the teams would go to intermission with three goals apiece. Alex Tuch took a beautiful pass from Johnathan Marchessault and charged hard to the net. Tuch would slam home his own rebound, which proved to be the GWG.

Tuch thought he had scored an insurance marker; however, the officials ruled that there was goaltender interference by Nick Cousins, which nullified the goal. Chicago gave a great effort with their goalie pulled but was not able to find the back of the net.

 

Winning a series four games to one is a convincing victory, but Vegas made this series harder than it had to be.

 

Chicago scored a lot of goals off careless turnovers by VGK in their defensive zone.  The Knights will have to find a way to cut down on those nasty turnovers, or their bubble may pop in the Conference Semi-Finals. 

Vegas was only at full health for games one and five. Injuries forced Max Pacioretty, Tomas Nosek, and Paul Stastny to miss time. Pacioretty looked like himself in game five. Stastny’s absence hurt the offensive output. With Stastny in the lineup, VGK scored four goals per game in the first round. Without Stastny, they averaged 1.5 goals per game.

Make no mistake, Lehner is the undisputed starter for VGK. Coach Pete DeBoer stated, “what gives us the best chance to win that night” when asked about what goes into how he creates a nightly lineup. Marc-Andre Fleury made his lone start and was terrific, in-game three, which was the first of a back to back. Vegas was up 2-0 in the series at that point.

vgk vs blackhawks
Photo Credit: NHL

Everyone knew that both goalies would get a start in the back to back situation. Perhaps the decision-making process for DeBoer was to get Lehner the game four start because if the team dropped game three, he would need his ace in net to give the team the best chance to take a 3-1 series lead? Besides, DeBoer went right back to Lehner after a game four loss. It is Lehner’s net to lose.

The Knights came out of round one at full health and now have nearly a week off to maintain their health. As far as potential first-round opponents go; Arizona trails Colorado three games to one, Dallas leads Calgary three games to two, and St. Louis and Vancouver are tied at two games apiece. Vegas will play the lowest remaining seed in the next round.

Likely opponents are Calgary, Vancouver, or St. Louis.  St. Louis would be the least desirable team to play in the bunch.

 

The magic number for the Golden Knights to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup remains at 12. 

VGK vs Blackhawks

Go Knights Go!

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-Chris Gawlik – Franchise Sports Media

Twitter: TDChrisG

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