The Vegas Golden Knights beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 on Tuesday night to take game one of their best-of-seven series. The win for Vegas means that they still have not lost a game since the NHL restart. Chicago was hoping to carry over the momentum from their shocking upset of the Edmonton Oilers in the qualifying round. The Golden Knights quickly put an end to that.
The Golden Knights took control in the third, however, with a couple of goals from Reilly Smith. Jonathan Marchessault assisted on both of Smith’s markers. That put Vegas up 4-1, and they never looked back.
The Golden Knights had a big decision to make before the game even started. Who would start in net, Robin Lehner or Marc-Andre Fleury? Coach Peter DeBoer chose Lehner over Fleury, in a somewhat surprising decision, but it certainly worked out well.
Lehner didn’t have to work too hard, only seeing 20 shots against, but he made all the saves he had to make. He stopped 19 of those 20 shots and picked up the win for the Golden Knights
The starting goalie for the Blackhawks was, of course, Corey Crawford. He didn’t have his strongest game in game one, giving up four goals on 34 shots. It certainly wasn’t all on Crawford, the team in front of him didn’t play well either, but he could have been better. If Chicago is going to win this series, they need Crawford to really step up.
Overall, it was a strong first game for the Golden Knights. They had a tough decision to make in goal, and Lehner showed they made the right choice, at least in game one. Reilly Smith continued to show how important he is to the team with a huge three-point night. The fourth line chipped in offensively on what became the game-winning goal. Depth scoring is crucial if this team wants to go deep in the postseason. Vegas needs to build off this and keep doing what they’re doing.
From a Chicago perspective, they have to be better. They aren’t going to win games only getting 20 shots on goal. This isn’t the Edmonton Oilers anymore. Vegas is a much better all-around team. The Blackhawks need to play better as a team and get better goaltending from Corey Crawford if they want to win this series. Game two will be huge for Chicago. If they go down 2-0 in the series, it could be over quickly.
Game two will take place on August 13th at 5:30 pm ET. Vegas will be looking to pick up where they left off and take a 2-0 series lead. Chicago needs to get in the win column and keep this series close. It will be a fun one.