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game recap

Golden Knights defeat Blackhawks in Game 1 of Western First Round

Smith scores two goals, has assist for No. 1-seeded Vegas

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

Smith's wrist shot from circle

CHI@VGK, Gm1: Smith's shot goes in off Crawford

R1, Gm1: Reilly Smith rips a wrist shot that goes off Corey Crawford's blocker and into the net, giving the Golden Knights a 3-1 lead

  • 00:44 •

Reilly Smith scored two goals and had an assist for the Vegas Golden Knights in a 4-1 win against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 of the Western Conference First Round at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Tuesday.

"When [our line] is skating and getting on the puck quickly, we're able to turn pucks over," Smith said. "I think my linemates (center Paul Stastny and Jonathan Marchessault) did a great job being able to get in there on the forecheck and cause havoc and turn that into quick offense. When we're bringing our legs like we did tonight, we create a lot more offense for each other."

Teams that win Game 1 are 478-219 (68.6 percent) winning a best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series.

Shea Theodore and William Carrier scored for the Golden Knights, who are the No. 1 seed in the West after going 3-0-0 in the round-robin portion of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers in Edmonton, the West hub city.

Robin Lehner, who started the season with Chicago before being traded Feb. 24 to the Toronto Maple Leafs and then Vegas, made 19 saves.

"I know a lot of their tendencies and know what they're trying to do on the power play, but it becomes a little bit of a reverse psychology," Lehner said. "I knew they were going to mix it up on me, and on all the in-tight chances, they tried to go five-hole. I kind of anticipated that before the game. Next game, they'll probably try something else."

 

[WATCH: All Blackhawks vs. Golden Knights Game 1 highlights]

 

David Kampf scored, and Corey Crawford made 30 saves for the Blackhawks, who are the No. 8 seed in the West after winning their best-of-5 qualifier series against the Edmonton Oilers in four games.

"I think part of the success we had comes from using speed, getting pucks deep, making clean plays when we can make them," Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith said. "I think we can do a better job with our breakouts, getting back for pucks, but it was a pretty close game. They stuck with their systems a little longer and got a few goals, and when that happens, we need to stay patient and stick with it."

Game 2 is Thursday (5:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN360, TVAS, ATTSN-RM, NBCSCH).

"I think we just got a better forecheck in the offensive zone, and we were just able to generate speed out of the neutral zone," said Marchessault, who had an assist on each Smith goal. "We were first on the puck in the offensive zone and making good decisions, and I think we just took over in the second and third period."

Theodore gave the Golden Knights a 1-0 lead on a shot from the top of the right face-off circle that beat Crawford inside the right post at 7:22 of the second period.

Carrier made it 2-0 when he scored on a wrist shot from the slot at 9:39.

Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton challenged that Ryan Reaves was offside prior to the goal, but the call on the ice was upheld by video review. Chicago was assessed a minor penalty for delay of game for the unsuccessful challenge.

Video: Smith, Golden Knights top Blackhawks for Game 1 win

Kampf scored shorthanded at 10:51 to make it 2-1 on a wrist shot from the left circle after taking a pass from Brandon Saad.

"We had a lot of one-and-dones," Saad said. "The biggest thing is getting out of our zone clean, playing hockey in their end. We had some shifts when we pinned them in, but we didn't get clean pucks to the net. We want to pin them in their end and play hockey down there."

Smith scored on a wrist shot from the right circle that went off Crawford's blocker and over his right shoulder at 3:32 of the third period to put Vegas ahead 3-1.

"I think our whole team did a good job of keeping them to the outside; they have a lot of skilled players," Smith said. "We took away the slot. They score a lot of goals and create a lot of chances from there, so it was a great team effort."

Smith extended the lead to 4-1 on a backhand inside the right post while skating down the slot at 8:14 of the third.

Forward Max Pacioretty was minus-1 with four shots on goal in 18:08 for the Golden Knights after missing all three round-robin games.

"It was nice to have [Pacioretty] back," DeBoer said. "I thought he got better as the game went on, as our team did. It was nice to get a game under his belt because he really hasn't played one since he got hurt in the early part of training camp. He'll get better every night; you could see how dangerous he is. He took a good step."

NHL.com staff writer Tracey Myers contributed to this report

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