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It Was Quite The Game 1, But It’s Still Just Game 1

The Golden Knights came out in Game 1 of Round 2 and threw a haymaker at the Vancouver Canucks. It landed right on the chin and knocked the last remaining Canadian team in the playoffs right on their backside.

But unlike the Golden Knights, who have yet to experience any adversity (on the ice) in these playoffs, the young Canucks have been here before. In the Qualifying Round, they were pushed around in Game 1 by the Minnesota Wild, a game they lost 3-0 and trailed for 57 minutes. Then, after taking a 2-0 series lead against the Blues they dropped consecutive games and then fell behind 3-1 in the pivotal Game 5. In both cases, they got up off the mat and imposed their will on each opponent, closing out each series a game early.

This was probably our worst game so far. We’ve talked to our group a lot over the season and we’ll talk to them again. I’ve got a lot of belief in our group and that hasn’t changed. Whenever we’ve challenged them or asked them to respond they’ve always given an effort. It’s one game, we’ll meet with our group tomorrow and we’ll be ready to go for the next game. -Travis Green, VAN head coach

Luckily, the Golden Knights have some history to lean on to remind them that you can’t win a series in Game 1.

In the only other second round the Golden Knights have ever played in, they throttled the San Jose Sharks in Game 1, scoring four goals in the first 12 minutes and seven overall while maintaining a shutout. Two nights later, on Vegas home ice, The Sharks punched back, beating the Golden Knights in double overtime. They tied the series that day and did again in Game 4 shutting the Golden Knights out.

Vegas has been on the flip side of a tough opening game loss too, multiple times. In the 2018 Western Conference Final, Vegas conceded three times in the opening frame to a red-hot Winnipeg team. They stormed back in Game 2 and eventually won four straight to win the series. Also, last year, the Golden Knights were a no-show in Game 1 against the Sharks. Vegas fell behind 3-0 in that game, eventually dropping it 5-2, but managed to come back to win the next three games and take hold of the series.

Jonathan Marchessault remembers all of them.

Tonight I think we were just a little bit better, but it’s just one game. We’ve got to focus on the next game and we’ve got to respect our opponent. They are a good team, so we’ve got to be ready. -Jonathan Marchessault

They were more than a little bit better. The Golden Knights dominated every facet of the game beside face-offs and made it look like a game of men vs. boys. They took no time in dominating on the scoreboard and then started to throw their weight around and dominate physically.

It would be easy to look at Game 1 and write the Canucks off completely. They didn’t look like they belonged on the same sheet of ice as the Golden Knights and it’s reasonable to expect it to be the same in the next three games. But the Golden Knights have to know better.

They’ve been on both sides of it and their opponent has proven their worth just within the last couple weeks. There’s no doubt Vegas has seized control of the series, but there’s a long way to go, and expecting them all to go as easy as Game 1 would be a mistake for a team that should know better.

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37 Comments

  1. DOC aPositiveFan

    I agree … One game does not win the series. What I think it means: If we play with that same effort we can beat every other team that is left. Can we expect our boys will play that intense a game every time? Probably not possible. But it shows the upside of this team, when we do! We simply have all the pieces in place to win THE CUP! And I think we WILL !!

  2. sb

    There’s only 8 Teams left. They’re all good. This Canuck Team
    has a ton of good, young talent that can really fill the net quick.
    This’ll be tougher series then what last night showed.

  3. Tim

    I guess men against boys would be the best way to describe last nights game. You can have all the skill you want but when your 19 or 20 and weigh 170 pounds playing men who weigh 200+ and skate as fast as you do your in deep shit. If I was a betting man I’d say Fleury gets the start in game two not because of any pressure but because we were so dominant in game one it would be a good time to play him out of respect. He deserves that but after this season instead of having Fleury and Lehner next year we may have neither. What Fleury did is unrepairable sad to say so let’s win the cup this year and figure it out in the off season.

    • Tim: Name the price. I’ll take any action you would like on Fleury starting Game 2. Unless Lehner gets hurt in practice, there’s a 0% chance it’s not his net on Tuesday.

      • Joe Ann Ricca

        Do you think they will ever play Fleury? In the last 12 years,Fleury has never lost against Vancouver. Lehner is a good goalie – not taking anything away from him – but when people say Lehner is better than Fleury, that I don’t get.

        • Joe Ann: I think Lehner has to lose it.

        • Tim

          Joe Ann every TV and Radio host are unanimous that Fleury is better. A few example 2018 Stanley cup Fleury lost 4 games in a row, 2019 up on Sharks 3-1 we lose game 7 in overtime, 2020 under Gallant team underachieved including Fleury hows that for starters. Yes he was the face of the franchise and after that despicable tweet at the start of the second round he went from the penthouse to the outhouse so sad his ego caused what was a shinning career in Vegas.

      • Tim

        Ken we all know Bill, George, Kelly, and Pete were outraged by the tweet and theirs no way Fleury will be back next year. BUT to show there bigger then the controversy it would be an ideal time to give him a start. For any of your readers who think Fleury didn’t know about the tweet are the few who believe O.J. was innocent. We’ll see tomorrow night who’s right. Ken I love being able to comment on your site like everyone else I appreciate the opportunity.

        • Tim: I’m not disagreeing with any reason to start Fleury again at some point. I’m just telling you, it’s not happening tomorrow. (Also, keep commenting. Love having discussions)

    • DOC aPositiveFan

      Tim, I say the play him “out of respect” went out the window with the tweet fiasco. Unfortunately it’s a sad turn of events. Lets just go and win this thing and let all this sort out AFTER the season.

  4. Julie

    I don’t see Vegas losing tomorrow. However, I don’t think we saw Vancouver in their rhythm yet. I don’t see the drama with Fleury’s agent being Fleury’s fault. It would make zero sense to tell his agent to post that picture because it gives PDB an excuse. The agent also has a bit of a history being outspoken. But PDB does have some responsibility here because it’s clear Fleury was told the same thing we were about getting a better backup goalie. That’s lie #2 after the lie about Dave Prior.

    Lehner did well yesterday, but he will be tested a lot more. I have a feeling we will see some trouble there. Ultimately, I would not be surprised if we lose both goalies after this year. Thanks, PDB.

    • Tim

      Julie I guess your one of the few who thought O.J. was innocent if you believe Fleury didn’t know he cried to his agent how unfairly he was treated by DeBoer.

      • Julie

        Tim, no way telling his agent he is upset is the same as “Please, Allan, tweet something because that will fix the situation”. Clearly, you favor Lehner to the point you can’t see the forest through the trees. I wouldn’t be surprised if that tweet ends Fleury’s time in Vegas, it certainly damaged him. How would it be advantageous for Fleury to get Walsh to step in like that? Fleury isn’t dumb. OJ, however, didn’t know when to quit.

        • Tim

          Julie your respectful and I appreciate that and want to treat you the same way. I have one Vegas Knight sweater and it’s Fleury and I dearly loved him but he crossed the line. Whether he thought about it at the time as much good as he’s done in his career this tweet will always be part of his legacy. Actually it makes me sick that his ego was more important then the team as much as they gloss over it. I’ll guarantee you management are already figuring out there next move at goalie.

          • Julie

            Tim, I don’t think we disagree on too much. Maybe you can help me understand why you think Fleury has an ego and that he would hurt his own career in this way? I just don’t see it from any prior behavior. I would bet Fleury is looking for a new agent.

      • Ryan

        I’m sure Fleury expressed his frustration with his agent, and is entitled… it doesn’t make him accountable for what his agent posts, but obviously it doesn’t help him… everyone seems to forget that VGK has ridden Fleury hard and put him away wet the past two seasons. Goalies at his age can’t play almost every game , which is what he did for the most part these past two seasons. Then add to that the passing of his father mid season… Fleury deserves more than a pass for his agents twitter post, he deserves better… I’m not saying he should be starting every game but VGK sure a hand in how this has all been handled… The were less than truthful/transparent with Gallant’s departure, I’m sure we have far less than the whole story… And if Fleury did have knowledge beforehand, what did it take to get a guy like him to get to that point?

    • EK

      Everyone has their thoughts and I respect them all. That being said, I think you are way off base thinking that somehow VGK would be without both Fleury and Lehner next season. If Fleury goes then there is plenty of money for Robin, if Fleury wants to stay he has a contract paying him 7 million a year. How do they come out with neither of them?

      • Julie

        Well, I wasn’t convinced Lehner was staying even before the drama. And Fleury will need to figure out his future in Vegas, if he’s truly been replaced as the starter goalie. But, I can’t help but think both goalies were told one thing and it’s not what we’re seeing. That can affect their decisions to stay especially if other options become available. I’m not saying it’s probable, but possible.

      • Tim

        EK I’d say it’s a done deal Fleury is gone. Make no mistake Fleury new what was going on and to put DeBoer’s name on the sword is beyond disrespect management won’t put up with that. Lehner depends on what he wants he has two problems to consider one a addict clean is good but you never know and #2 he’s overweight and may be an issue if you sign him to a 4 or 5 year contract. Let’s get this year over and George and Kelly are smart people and they’ll figure it out.

      • DOC aPositiveFan

        I guess I kind of agree with EK. It’s hard to figure they would be without both Panda & MAF next season.

  5. Kevin

    Lehner is 3-0 in his last 3 games against Vancouver…..ALL which have been shutouts! Let’s just keep rolling with that!

  6. knights fan in minny

    well oiled machine last night

  7. Gump Worsley

    Pittsburgh Penguins won 2 Stanley Cups with Matt Murray in goal and Fleury sitting on the bench…..just sayin’

    any coach who wants to keep his job goes with the WINNING goalie at the current time…throw contracts and egos and agents and fan feelings out the window.

  8. DOC aPositiveFan

    Damn, I just want to unload on anyone actually believing MAF didn’t know of the tweet BEFORE hand. But … but … but, I won’t. All that will sort it’s self out NEXT season. Right NOW it is THIS season, and the playoffs are in full bloom. GO KNIGHTS GO !!!!!!

  9. Tim

    Winning game two should be our main focus put the Canucks in a hole. Fleury and his shenanigans have been talked about enough time to move on.

  10. A VGK Fan

    How about we can all agree Reilly Smith is gonna be captain

    • HAGUE_FOR_CALDER

      100% I love the passion he plays with every night and can be captain serious at times like Jonathan Toews. I think its either him or stone but I’m leaning towards smith.

    • DOC aPositiveFan

      Love your devotion to #19 for captain. But as I have explained many times, the decision has already been made. PDB wants Stone, so that’s who it will be. Both guys are great. As fans we need to stand behind whoever (Stone) is named captain. GO KNIGHTS GO !!

  11. VGK Can’t take their foot off the gas. Even with CHI after a 4-1 game one win they go to OT in game two because of a sleep-walking three-goal second period. You’re right it looked like Vancouver didn’t even belong on the ice with the Knights, its a handle business kind of series. The team can’t look ahead, but as a fan i’ll play devils advocate- If Vegas makes it to the conference finals they are getting a wagon of a team in either Dallas or Colorado, having fresh legs for that series is essential.

  12. Jake

    I don’t think we can overestimate how selfish and sick the image was.

    A sword, bloody, with the coach’s name etched in the steel, in the back of a player?

    MAF is gone. The owner can’t put up with paying 7 million for that betrayal.

    Plus, play Lehner every game until he can’t. In competition, you ride your best horses. MAF can sit in the corner and wonder what happened. Well, he doesn’t need to wonder.

  13. THE hockey GOD

    can someone link the tweets, I have been on vacation for past month, thanks. I did a search on tweeter or twister or whatever that platform is, and I could not find a thing. ty vm

    BTW in my travels I have found that the attempt to infiltrate the “Rocky Mountain region” to win over fans to the knights has not been successful. Everywhere I have gone from Utah, to Montana to Wyoming has shown AVS games, not KNIGHTS games on TV.

  14. Julie

    It pays not to go down rabbit hole. Lesson learned.

    Looks like Lehner says MAF didn’t do anything, it was all the agent.
    https://www.thescore.com/nhl/news/2008335

    And knowing Walsh did this before with Halak/Price, I would bet the question isn’t whether Fleury knew it was going to happen, it’s getting past it and moving forward.

    Ken, I agree with your article
    http://sinbin.vegas/the-inevitable-goalie-controversy-has-arrived-for-the-vegas-golden-knights/

  15. DOC aPositiveFan

    Just wish, IF the right situation presented it’s self: That #5 would get to play a game, out-of-respect for all he’s done for this team & city. Long-shot I know, but would be a deserved thing for him! Big game 2 tonight. GO KKNIGHTS GO !!!

  16. DOC aPositiveFan

    Hey, also: Great article, on PDB, by Jesse Granger on the Athletic today. He talks to past players on why PDB is so good during playoff time. It gives a good understanding about PDB preparation for his team.

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