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Tag: Quinn Hughes

Is Vancouver Prepared To Take the West From Vegas?

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

If you watched yesterday’s 2024 NHL All-Star draft, you would have noticed the absence of the reigning Stanley Cup champions and the abundance of players from a team scheming to crush the Golden Knights’ dreams of repeating. And no, it wasn’t Edmonton Oilers.

While the Toronto Maple Leafs are hosting the ASG, the team with the most representatives resides in Western Canada. The Pacific Division-leading Vancouver Canucks were awarded five All-Star selections and traded for a sixth on Monday. Add in coach Rick Tocchet, and 26.9% of the West’s attendees are made up of Canucks. So, it’s understandable why Vancouver aggressively made a trade with the Calgary Flames for center Elias Lindholm. Like Vegas, Vancouver now boasts one of the stronger center units in all of hockey.

We all know the matchups going down the stretch here, the last 33 games. That’s where you need your four lines to be strong… in the two-way game. That’s where we felt that adding a piece like Elias here for the cost of what we paid, for now but potentially for the future as well, it was something that we felt strong about. –Patrik Allvin, Canucks GM in press conference

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Vegas Holds The Edge No Matter Who Vancouver Starts In Net

The Golden Knights were expected to smell blood on Tuesday night after the Canucks announced backup goaltender Thatcher Demko as the starter for Game 5. If anything, the reverse happened. Demko became the shark and snacked on a quantity of Vegas shots.

We are aware this photo has nothing to do with this article. But it’s great, so here it is. *Sorry Zach* (Photo Credit: Playoff “Photographer” @BadSportsArt)

Since his performance was so strong and starter Jacob Markstrom was designated as “unfit to play”, Vancouver may select Demko to start tonight’s Game 6. So, who benefits more if they do?

First postseason start or not, Demko’s performance was superb and may be tough to match. In his young career, he’s limited opponents to one goal six times. That’s over a span of 36 starts. He’s a fine goaltender that could frustrate the Golden Knights again, but odds say he’ll allow more than one goal tonight. Which might be all Vegas needs to clinch the seven-game series.

Especially if this is the Golden Knights mindset coming into Game 6.

We’re going to come into tomorrow’s game just to try to step on their necks and end this. -Reilly Smith

Smith also mentioned that Vegas needed to stick with their gameplan no matter what the outcome was after Game 5. The Golden Knights play best when they attack with numbers, using all three forwards to force their way into the Canucks’ zone by using their patented aggressive forecheck. If they play like that, it wouldn’t matter who is tending Vancouver’s net. The top seed in the West hasn’t lost its confidence after Tuesday’s 2-1 loss, they believe they were merely unfortunate. Vegas knows they’re the better club, and if they were to take 43 shots like they did in Game 5, they will go on to advance to the conference finals.

Plus, Vegas got tipped off how Vancouver successfully outlasted them in Game 5.

We’re just trying to play fast and get the puck in their zone. They clog the middle pretty well so we can’t really skate through it. The longer we wait to pass then their forwards are stuck at the far blue line. So if we pass it to them then they have no speed. For us we were just trying to get it out of our hands quickly so they can get on the forecheck with speed. It’s the defenseman’s responsibility to get up and gap up and try and support the forecheck. -Quinn Hughes, VAN defenseman

Leaked strategy or not, it shouldn’t matter for a good team like Vegas. Coach Pete DeBoer and his players will/should adapt from last game’s miscues.

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