The NHL is packed with another solid night of action on Tuesday night. Two potential elimination games will be up on the board throughout September 1. One of these games will be between the Vancouver Canucks and the Vegas Golden Knights. The Golden Knights have a chance to move on with a win in Game 5. This game will drop the puck at around 9:45 PM Eastern time.
Vancouver finished out the regular season with a record of 36-27-6, which put them in seventh place of the Western Conference. The Canucks knocked off the Minnesota Wild and the St. Louis Blues in route to the second round. Vancouver now finds their backs against the wall as they try and keep this series alive with a win in Game 5.
The Golden Knights earned a record of 39-24-8 throughout the regular season, which put them in round robin play. Vegas went undefeated in round robin, which set them up with a first round matchup against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Golden Knights knocked them off in five games to move on. Now Vegas will look to eliminate the Canucks in five to earn a spot in the Western Conference Finals.
These two teams have played well to get to the second round, but the Canucks are now in do or die mode. Vancouver had an impressive series win over the defending Stanley Cup Champions in the first round, but now need to stay alive in this series. I expect the Canucks to come out fast in Game 5 as they look to keep their playoff run alive.
Game 1 of this series was back on August 23. Reilly Smith, Mark Stone and Alex Tuch all scored a goal and an assist to help lead the Golden Knights to a win. Shea Theodore added two assists, while Robin Lehner stopped all 26 shots he faced to help give Vegas a big Game 1 win. The Golden Knights were able to finish with a 5-0 win.
The second game of this series was on August 25. Shea Theodore put up another two assists, but this time it was not enough. Elias Pettersson and Tyler Toffoli both had a goal and two assists. Bo Horvat scored twice, while Alexander Edler finished with two assists. Jacob Markstrom had 38 saves on 40 shots to give the Canucks a 5-2 win to tie up the series.
Game 3 of this series was back on August 29. Alex Tuch opened up the scoring in the first period and Zach Whitecloud made it 2-0 early. Mark Stone helped ice the game in the third period with another goal. Robin Lehner finished with 31 saves as the Golden Knights took the series lead back with a solid 3-0 win.
The most recent game in this series was Game 4 on August 30. J.T. Miller finished with three assists, while Quinn Hughes finished two assists. Max Pacioretty scored two goals and an assist. Mark Stone earned three assists. Nate Schmidt scored a goal and an assist, while Shea Theodore earned two assists. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 28 of 31 shots as Vegas pulled away with a 5-3 win.
Vancouver finished out the regular season with a solid 24.3 percent power play and a penalty kill rate of 80.5 percent. The Canucks have done well on the power play since the playoffs started. Vancouver have posted a 24.1 percent success rate on the power play. The Canucks have also killed off 78.2 percent of the penalties against them in the postseason.
The Golden Knights had a solid season on special teams as well. Vegas earned a power play rate of 22 percent, while killing off 76.6 percent of their opponent’s power play attempts. The Golden Knights have stepped up their special team play in the postseason as well. Vegas has capitalized on 23.5 percent of their opportunities, while putting up an 84.2 percent kill rate.
Vegas has been the better team on special team this season, but the Canucks have done really well on the power play. Vancouver has kept up their strong power play in this series, but need to find a way to slow down the Golden Knights power play. If the Canucks can have a better game on special teams, it could help them earn a big win in Game 5.
Jacob Markstrom will get the start in the net for the Canucks in Game 5. Markstrom earned a record of 23-16-4 throughout the regular season. He posted a save percentage of .918 and a 2.75 GAA in those games. Markstrom has done well in the playoffs, putting up a .919 save percentage and a GAA of 2.85 to help push Vancouver to the second round.
Robin Lehner will be the man in the crease for the Golden Knights on Tuesday night. Lehner went 19-10-5 throughout the regular season. He earned a .920 save percentage and a 2.89 GAA through those games with Vegas and Chicago. In the postseason, Lehner has put up an impressive save percentage of .921 and a GAA of 2.08.
These two goalies have helped out their respective teams greatly in getting to this point in the playoffs. Markstrom needs to step up a bit though as the Canucks need him to play well to stay alive. If Markstrom gets the start, it will be his third game in four nights, which could play a factor. Markstrom will look to get into a groove early to shut down the Golden Knights high powered offense.
The Golden Knights find themselves one game away from the Western Conference Finals, which should bump up their game. Vegas could also find themselves getting complacent with a 3-1 lead. I believe that the Canucks could surprise the Golden Knights with a hot start in Game 5. If Vancouver can take control of this one early, it will help them force a Game 6.
BetOnline has Vegas listed as a -215 against the money line in this one. This implies that the Golden Knights will win this game around 68.3 percent of the time. Although Vegas has been the better team in this series, I believe that this line is too big. Vancouver has looked solid and I believe they have a good chance to keep this series alive with a win on Tuesday night.