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game recap

Golden Knights score five, blank Canucks in Game 1 of West Second Round

Lehner makes 26 saves for shutout; Smith, Stone among four with two points for Vegas

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

Lehner's first playoff shutout

VAN@VGK, Gm1: Lehner blanks Canucks in Game 1 win

R2, Gm1: Robin Lehner stopped all 26 shots he faced, recording his first career playoff shutout in the Golden Knights' Game 1 victory

  • 01:40 •

Robin Lehner made 26 saves for his first NHL postseason shutout, and the Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Vancouver Canucks 5-0 in Game 1 of the Western Conference Second Round at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Sunday.

"It was really nice to get the win," Lehner said. "I thought we played a [heck] of game ... a really good team game. Everyone was working hard, blocking shots and backchecking. Doing all the small things, and it was nice to come out strong and start the series strong."


[WATCH: All Canucks vs. Golden Knights 1 highlights]


Reilly Smith, Alex Tuch and Mark Stone each had a goal and an assist, and Shea Theodore had two assists for the Golden Knights, the No. 1 seed in the West.

Teams that win Game 1 are 485-220 (68.7 percent) winning a best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series, including 7-1 in the first round this season.

"These series can be long, but the feeling in the first game is important and doing it the way we did tonight shows what we have in our locker room when we have every guy coming in, stepping up, and having an impact like they had," Smith said. "We're a hard team to beat when we're able to control the puck in the offensive zone, and we did that tonight."

Game 2 is in Edmonton, the West hub city, on Tuesday (9:45 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).

Lehner, acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs on Feb. 24 after the Chicago Blackhawks traded him to Toronto earlier that day, has started seven of nine postseason games for Vegas (6-1-0). He said Vancouver forward Antoine Roussel gave him extra incentive to play well early in the game.

"I want to thank [Roussel]," Lehner said. "It definitely gives me motivation (when a player tries to throw him off his game). He got a couple extra percentages out of me today. I hope he keeps going because he's just poking the bear."

Video: Robin Lehner earns today's Pepsi Zero Sugar Shutout

Jacob Markstrom allowed five goals on 34 shots in 51:34, and Thatcher Demko made five saves in relief for the Canucks, the No. 5 seed.

"They're a fast team, they're a good team," Vancouver coach Travis Green said. "We just need to play better; we didn't play very well tonight. We're definitely not going to just flush it and move on. We'll watch the game again, we'll meet with our team like we have whether we've played well or didn't, analyze our game. We have to be better with the puck, that'd be a start, and we have to play better."

Jonathan Marchessault scored on a wrist shot from the bottom of the left face-off circle to give the Golden Knights a 1-0 lead at 11:37 of the first period.

Vegas scored three goals in the second to take a 4-0 lead.

"That's our game (in the second period) and something we've been building on prior to the NHL pause (on March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus)," Golden Knights coach Peter DeBoer said. "We want to come out in those second periods and take advantage of the long changes and beat teams with our depth. We're tough to play against when we're playing like that."

Smith scored on a rebound on the power play to make it 2-0 at 2:13 before Stone deflected a Nate Schmidt shot for a 3-0 lead at 11:35.

Tuch caught up to a pass by Nick Cousins from the Vegas zone inside the Vancouver end and scored on the rush to make it 4-0 at 16:34.

"We were good on the forecheck, and our defense also did a great job being able to jump in there, and when we're able to use them as a five-man unit, it makes a huge difference because we're able to spread out their team defense," Smith said. "That puts a lot of pressure on them, and we caught them a couple times tired out there. We were able to roll over shifts; it's amazing how much offense you can create when that happens."

Video: Golden Knights shut out Canucks in Game 1 win

The Golden Knights outhit the Canucks 54-45. Vegas forward Ryan Reaves had a game-high 11 hits.

"We wanted to jump on them right from the get-go and get our forecheck going," Tuch said. "I thought we were quick to strike in the defensive zone and thought our defense didn't give anyone time and space. But we did take advantage with our physical play."

Max Pacioretty scored to make it 5-0 10:47 into the third period.

The Golden Knights are 6-0-0 when scoring first in the postseason.

"I just don't think we were good enough tonight," Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler said. "They have a very good team, but so do we. We didn't get up to our standard today. It's Game 1, and we have to look forward to Game 2 and be better.

"They're quick, but I think tonight we weren't at our best and we have to be a little bit better all over the ice." staff writer Tracey Myers contributed to this report

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