After a brief pause in play to focus on an issue bigger than sports, the NHL resumes play in the bubble.
Like many sports across the professional leagues, the NHL paused play Thursday and Friday night to focus on social justice issues in light of recent events where a young black-man was shot in the back by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Ryan Reaves, an African-American for the Golden Knights felt the unity and support he needed and deserved at a time like this. Reaves, who initially had no thoughts of sitting out didn’t find comfort in that decision until having multiple phone conversations with team members such as veteran Marc-Andre Fleury.
It has been a beyond unique NHL play-off season. It started with the paused and shortened regular season, the playoff bubble, social media issues with multiple star players, a goalie controversy, social justice issues across the United States, all while trying to focus on winning the Stanley Cup. Now on Saturday, the Knights will once again resume play with the Vancouver Canucks.
The Knights rolled in game 1, lead by two-point games from Stone and Tuch, while goalie Robin Lehner posted a shutout with 26 saves. Game two was a different story. Vegas came out slow, while the Canucks were ready to bounce back from a poor game one performance. Vancouver’s Right Wring Toffoli scored in the first minute and a half of the game. Toffoli also went on to have two more assist as well. Vancouver was up 2-0 by the end of the first.
It was a poor game two performance, but the last two periods were worse on paper than they were on the ice. Vegas’ Tuch scored 6:34 into the second period. The Knights moved the puck well and showed flashes of their game one performance, but couldn’t execute beyonds Tuch’s goal. The game was prepared to end 4-2 prior to an open net goal with 30 seconds left in the game.
In game one Vancouver under performed, and in game two Vegas came out slow. Vegas has had the opportunity to reset, and also had a moment of coming together unifying as a team in the light of issues facing the black community behind the Right Winger Ryan Reaves. I would anticipate both team play their best performance in game three, and when they both do, Vegas’ talent and depth should pull away.