No. 1 Golden Knights vs. No. 5 Canucks
9:45 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS
Best-of-7 series is tied, 1-1
The Vegas Golden Knights and Vancouver Canucks will look take the lead in the Western Conference Second Round when they play Game 3 at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Thursday.
The game was rescheduled from Thursday after the players on the eight remaining teams decided not to play as a form of protest against systemic racism and police brutality.
“When you’re in the League, you’re fierce competitors on the ice,” Canucks coach Travis Green said. “That’s the respect the players have of the game, they understand how it’s played on the ice. They also understand when you leave the ice, you’re all players in a great sport.
“Everyone loves playing hockey and being in the NHL and I don’t expect it to change one bit tonight. I expect the intensity to get magnified as the game goes on.”
Teams that win Game 3 after a Stanley Cup Playoff series is tied 1-1 are 218-107 (67.1 percent) winning a best-of-7 series, including 3-1 this postseason.
“We’re ready to go, we’re excited to get back playing,” Golden Knights forward Mark Stone said. “We want to win the Stanley Cup, they want to win the Stanley Cup. I think a lot of us have plenty of friends, not just on our own teams throughout the League, but when it comes to getting on the ice, it’s a whole different breed.”
Here are 3 keys for Game 3:
1. Goalie decisions
Golden Knights coach Peter DeBoer did not reveal a starting goalie for Game 3.
“You’ll know tonight,” he said.
Robin Lehner (6-2-0, 2.34 goals-against average, .909 save percentage, one shutout) started the past four games, including a 5-2 loss to the Canucks in Game 2 on Tuesday. Marc-Andre Fleury is 2-0-0 with a 2.50 goals-against average and .886 save percentage in two postseason starts.
Jacob Markstrom is expected to start for the Canucks. He’s 8-4 with a 2.64 goals-against average, .925 save percentage and one shutout in 12 postseason starts.
2. Bypassing the blocks
The Golden Knights are confident they can devise a strategy to get even more shots through against Markstrom. Vegas had 93 shot attempts in Game 2, including 40 shots on goal, but had 40 shots blocked. Markstrom made 38 saves.
“We have to keep wearing them down, keep shooting and finding ways to get pucks through and getting traffic in front,” Golden Knights forward Mark Stone said. “The quicker you move the puck, get them moving, that’s when you start creating lanes.”
3. Dominating draws
Vancouver captain Bo Horvat leads the postseason with 177 face-off wins and 298 face-offs taken (59.4 percent).
He is 39-for-54 (72.2 percent) against the Golden Knights. The Canucks were 40-for-63 (63 percent) on face-offs in Game 1 and 43-for-65 (66 percent) in Game 2, after ranking second in the NHL during the regular season at 54.0 percent, behind the Philadelphia Flyers (54.6 percent).
Vegas is last in face-off winning percentage (44.5 percent) among the eight remaining teams.
Golden Knights projected lineup
Max Pacioretty — William Karlsson — Mark Stone
Reilly Smith — Paul Stastny — Jonathan Marchessault
Nick Cousins — Nicolas Roy — Alex Tuch
William Carrier — Chandler Stephenson — Ryan Reaves
Shea Theodore — Alec Martinez
Brayden McNabb — Nate Schmidt
Zach Whitecloud — Nick Holden
Unfit to play: Tomas Nosek
Canucks projected lineup
Tanner Pearson — Elias Pettersson — Tyler Toffoli
J.T. Miller — Bo Horvat — Brock Boeser
Antoine Roussel — Adam Gaudette — Brandon Sutter
Tyler Motte — Jay Beagle — Jake Virtanen
Alexander Edler — Troy Stecher
Quinn Hughes — Christopher Tanev
Oscar Fantenberg — Jordie Benn
Scratched: Olli Juolevi, Justin Bailey, Jalen Chatfield, Louis Domingue, Tyler Graovac, Brogan Rafferty, Loui Eriksson
Unfit to play: Micheal Ferland, Josh Leivo, Tyler Myers