Game Preview: Canucks vs. Golden Knights (Game 5)

Story posted September 1, 2020 in Sports, CommRadio by Josh Portney

After blanking the Vancouver Canucks in Game 3, the Vegas Golden Knights battled back from a 3-2 deficit in Game 4 to score three unanswered goals and take an important 3-1 lead in the second round of the Western Conference Semifinal. The Golden Knights enter Game 5 with incredible momentum that could potentially extinguish the flame for the Vancouver Canucks that have, to their credit, hung on closely in this series. This would be a disappointing exit for the Canucks, which are in the playoffs for the first time since the 2014-2015 season.

While the Golden Knights haven’t been playing at their best level, they have capitalized on mistake after mistake from the Canucks. In particular, the Golden Knights have scored at least one power-play goal in every game of this series, converting on 7 of 13 opportunities overall. The Golden Knights have plagued by penalties too, but their penalty kill has been very strong, allowing the Canucks to score only three power-play goals out of 16 opportunities. With the combined number of penalties between the two teams being just shy of 30, it’s clear that they’ve been a major factor. In Game 5, expect more of the same, so an important mission for the Canucks will be to capitalize on power-play opportunities, as that has been one thing missing from their offense.

There’s much to be said, however, about the resiliency of this young Vancouver Canucks team. In the qualifying round, they dropped the first game to the Minnesota Wild but fought back to win three straight and advance to the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Then, they lost back-to-back games to the reigning Stanley Cup Champions, the St. Louis Blues, but rallied back to win two straight of their own to close the series with a win. Despite facing elimination in the semifinal, the Canucks are still optimistic about their odds to fight back and eventually force a Game 7 in order to advance to the Western Conference Final.

“Everyone thought we were down and out and going to be done,” coach Travis Green told NHL.com. “I can guarantee you that our team’s going to be ready to go tomorrow.”

It’s got to be a whole team effort for the Canucks to pull off a win and send it to Game 6. The eight goals that Vancouver has scored this entire series have come from just four players: Bo Horvat (3), Tyler Toffoli (2), Elias Pettersson (2) and Tanner Pearson (1). The offense has to function with a full team effort, which entails scoring from all lines. Let’s see some movement from the Roussel-Gaudette-Boeser line and not just action from the main first line. Vancouver needs all lines to contribute in a big way if it wants a chance at the Western Conference Final.

The puck drops for Game 5 at 9:45 p.m. EST at Rogers Place in Edmonton.

 

Josh Portney is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email jxp776@psu.edu.