New on Sports Illustrated: Pressure back on Knights against Canucks for Game 3

August 27, 2020 at 06:47AM

After getting blown out 5-0 on Sunday by the Vegas Golden Knights in a Game 1 that might best be described a laugher, the Vancouver Canucks rebounded to even their best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series with an impressive 5-2 victory on Tuesday night.

Now the pressure switches back to the heavily-favored Golden Knights for Game 3 on Thursday night in Edmonton.

The Tuesday game marked the first time in franchise history that Vegas lost in regulation to Vancouver, dropping the Golden Knights' record in the all-time matchup to 9-1-2.

Vegas dominated Game 1 in convincing fashion, and plenty of video bench shots showed Golden Knights players laughing and taunting the Canucks during the contest.

Vancouver flipped the script in Game 2, jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first 11 minutes and a 4-1 advantage early in the third period. Bo Horvat scored two goals, Elias Pettersson and Tyler Toffoli each finished with a goal and two assists, and goalie Jacob Markstrom, pulled in the third period in Game 1, bounced back to stop 38 of 40 shots.

"We wanted to make a statement, and obviously it was a lot quieter over there (on the Vegas bench), and we're going to try and keep it that way," said Horvat, who had a playoff-leading eight goals through Tuesday. "We had a great response. Everybody was selling out, everybody was blocking shots, doing whatever it took to win."

Vancouver finished with a franchise-record 40 blocked shots to just 15 for Vegas. Defenseman Chris Tanev led the way with six blocks while forward Jay Beagle added five.

"I know it's not fun to see guys with ice packs after games, people blocking shots, but as a goalie, I appreciate that," Markstrom said. "They've been helping me throughout the year and the playoffs. Hopefully, they're going to keep blocking shots, helping me out."

Vegas forward Alex Tuch said, "They're a good shot-blocking team. We knew it before the series even started. They block a lot of shots. They put their bodies on the line. We decided to try and shoot through them instead of around them and make the simple play."

The Canucks also dominated the faceoff circle, winning 66.2 percent (43 of 65) with Horvat leading the way winning 21 of 26 draws (80.8 percent).

"They're the best faceoff team in the league, so we're not going to fix that in this series," Vegas coach Peter DeBoer said. "I think what we can fix, make sure our coverage is better and not give them anything off the ones they win. I think that was our mistake tonight."

Vegas, which had to deal with the distraction of Marc-Andre Fleury's agent Allan Walsh tweeting out a drawing of Fleury having a sword with DeBoer's name on the handle stuck in his back before Game 1, had to deal with another social media misstep after the Game 2 loss.

Center Jonathan Marchessault had a profane response to a post on his Instagram page that accused him of diving to draw penalties. Marchessault later took down the conversation but not before a screenshot of the dialogue made its way around Twitter.

"It got the best of me, but there's no excuse," Marchessault said Wednesday. "I sincerely apologize."

"To me, it's over with," DeBoer said. "That stuff doesn't enter our dressing room."

DeBoer didn't tip his hand on who would start in goal for Game 3, Robin Lehner or Fleury. Lehner had a 26-save shutout in Game 1 but was on the losing end in Tuesday's contest.

"Nothing's changed in my mind that both guys are going to play here," DeBoer said.

--Field Level Media

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