The Vancouver Canucks defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 2-1 in game 5 of their Western Conference semi-final matchup on Tuesday night, extending the series to a game 6 on Thursday.
Off the bat, there are negative takeaways a Knights fan could pull from this game. For starters, how does this team of scoring machines put the puck in the net one time on 40 shots. Or besides that, how do you lose a game that you out-shoot a team 43-17? Sure, a lot of people will jump the conclusion that Marc-Andre Fleury should have been in net, with Lehner allowing 2 goals on 17 shots in the loss, but this was not a goalie issue.
The Knights lost the takeaway battle 9 to 1. The penalty minutes continued to rack-up with 10 minutes in the box, putting a lot of extra effort on our defensive skaters legs. The numbers weren’t great, but despite that, the product on the ice wasn’t all that bad either.
Vegas continued to play their style of hockey, fast-pace, transition through the blue-line hockey. They were clearly once-again the bigger, more physical, and faster team. They simply failed to convert shots into goals even with good-looks. I have stated before, this team cannot lose their identity even when strategy fails to work. Continue to be fast, continue to shoot, the team just needs to to execute.
To their credit, Vancouver played a very good game. They were on their heels but had the bend-don’t-break mentality. Goalie Thatcher Demko had 42 saves while the team blocked 22 shots. In my opinion, Vancouver played better in game five than they did in the 5-2 game two win.
So no, this loss doesn’t concern me that Vegas won’t win the series, the just need to execute and they will be fine. However, I would hate to see an “anything can happen” game 7.