Vancouver Canucks’ Brock Boeser (6) is stopped by Vegas Golden Knights goalie Robin Lehner (90) during second period NHL Western Conference Stanley Cup playoff action in Edmonton on Friday, Sept. 4, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Game 7 heartbreak for Vancouver as Vegas bounces Canucks from NHL playoffs with 3-0 win

Golden Knights advance to meet Dallas in Western Conference final

Shea Thedore scored late in the third period to break a scoreless tie and lead the Vegas Golden Knights to a 3-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Friday night, eliminating the last Canadian team from the NHL playoffs.

Theodore, on the power play, fired a quick wrist shot from the blue-line that found its way under the crossbar past goaltender Thatcher Demko at 13:52 of the third.

Alex Tuch and Paul Stastny scored into an empty net to seal the win in the seventh and deciding game of the Western Conference semifinal.

Vegas goes on to play the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference final.

Robin Lehner, making his 12th start of the playoffs, got the 14-save shutout win for Vegas to improve to 8-4.

Demko kept the Canucks in the game, which saw Vancouver outshot 36-14, in a third consecutive game of puck-stopping heroics.

Vegas had been up 3-1 in the series before Demko came on in relief for injured starter Jacob Markstrom in Game 5. He stonewalled the Golden Knights by stopping 90 of 91 shots over the next two games, allowing Vancouver to win 2-1 and 4-0 and tie the series.

For much of the game it was the same script: Vegas dominated the Canucks, left them running around in their own end as they fired shot after shot, many of which were blocked or missed the target. When they found their mark, Demko speared the puck through traffic or flicked out a pad to stop it.

Vegas had 21 shots through the first two periods while Vancouver had six.

Lehner was so starved for work that during one TV timeout he skated out to the blue-line and did leg stretches to keep limber.

Vancouver had four shots in the second period but the highlight save came from Lehner, flashing his glove to knock down a Brock Boeser shot on a wide open net on a two-on-one.

Vegas winger Ryan Reaves was given a game misconduct late in the second after delivering a shoulder-to-chin hit on Tyler Motte.

The win avoids a disastrous deja vu for the Golden Knights.

After advancing to the Stanley Cup final in their inaugural 2018 season, Vegas was up 3-1 to the San Jose Sharks in the first playoff round last year only to lose three straight and go home.

Theodore led the way, racking up two goals and seven assists against Vancouver. Mark Stone led all Vegas forwards with two goals and seven points in the series.

The Golden Knights were 39-24-8, good for seventh overall, when the NHL stopped, and later cancelled, the regular season due to the spread of COVID-19. The Canucks were 36-27-6, 18th overall.

All games in the Western Conference playoffs were played without spectators at Rogers Place. Players isolated between contests in a so-called bubble to prevent contracting COVID-19.

Despite the loss, the playoffs represented a step forward for the Canucks.

Vancouver had not been in the playoffs since 2015. They beat the Wild in this year’s qualifying round, then recorded their first playoff series win since 2011 when they dispatched the reigning Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues in six games.

READ MORE: Stayin’ alive: Demko makes 48 saves as Canucks force Game 7 with 4-0 win over Vegas

Their last playoff win was over the San Jose Sharks in the final-four series in 2011. Vancouver went on to lose to the Boston Bruins that year in the Stanley Cup final.

Half the roster, including key performers like Markstrom, Demko, Elias Pettersson, Boeser, and Quinn Hughes, now have 17 games of experience, including bounce-back performances and elimination games, to draw upon.

Their best players were T their best in the post-season: Pettersson logged seven goals 18 points. Bo Horvat scored 10, and J.T. Miller racked up a goal and seven assists against Vegas.

They also know they have two prime time goalies, with Markstrom becoming an unrestricted free agent.

Meanwhile, Canada’s last Stanley Cup continues to get even smaller and smaller in history’s rear-view mirror.

No Canadian team has won the Stanley Cup since the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Los Angeles Kings in June 1993.

THE CANADIAN PRESS

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

CanuckshockeyNHL

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Drivesmart column: Clear your frosty windows BEFORE driving

85 per cent of the information we require to drive safely comes to us through our eyes.

Hundreds march against location of safe injection site

A Voice for Our Children opposes centre being near schools, recreation sites

Sarah Simpson Column: Creativity, and smoke, yields two new ‘computers’

My son opted to empty the recycling bin of all its boxes and create stuff.

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

Most Read