After the Vancouver Canucks knocked off the St. Louis Blues in six games of the Stanley Cup playoffs, their sights have shifted to the Las Vegas Golden Knights. With many counting Vancouver out of round one, the same is coming in round two, with most experts saying the Canucks are not making it past Vegas. Although much like the Blues series if Vancouver plays their style of hockey and not give into Vegas fans will be in for a treat.
During the season, the Canucks and Golden Knights met twice, with both teams splitting the series one and one.
The Canucks and Knights first met December 15th in Vegas where the Knights would take a 6-3. Vegas goal scorers were Valentin Zykov, Mark Stone, Jonathan Marchessault, Nick Holden, and Max Pacioretty who netted a pair. The other side saw goals from Jake Virtanen, Brock Boeser, and Elias Pettersson.
Vancouver managed to get their victory in overtime, but it came at a price as the would lose forward Josh Levio for the remainder of the season. Courtesy of a questionable hit at the hands of Vegas defenceman Nick Holden. In that game the Canucks saw goals from the likes of Antoine Roussel, Tanner Pearson, a pair from Elias Pettersson, and the overtime winner from Chris Tanev. While Vegas’s goals came from Reilly Smith, Mark Stone, Jonathan Marchessault, and Nick Holden. Holden’s goal came just seconds after his hit on Levio.
With both teams making it this far it is safe to say these are two strong competitors. With depth on either side and success coming from unlikely forces it is tough to determine who the difference makers will be.
For Vegas, a name that comes to mind is Nick Holden. The big defenceman seems to have Vancouver’s number scoring in both meetings this past season and bringing physicality to the lineup. Another player that has the Canucks number is goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury has a career 12-2-1 record against Vancouver. With that one overtime loss coming this season. Although at this point no one knows how much ice Fleury will see.
As for the Canucks, captain Bo Horvat has been red hot throughout the series scoring a handful of highlight goals. Which saw him gather shifts with the first line. Another player that has found his stride these playoffs is, spark plug Tyler Motte. Motte has scored four goals thus far with all four coming in the final two games against St. Louis. Aside from Mottes scoring he also seems to be a pest in front of the net and hustling around both sides of the ice.
This is an intriguing match-up with the Canucks being regarded as underdogs for the third consecutive series. They have shown they are not a team to overlook. They come out and play like every game is an elimination game and can produce offense from all over their lineup. Jacob Markstrom has been getting better each period. The defense has also been helping Markstrom out a lot more than usual. As long as Vancouver plays to there strengths fans can expect this series to go to six or seven games.
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