Fleury starts, Pacioretty dominates as Golden Knights take 3-1 series lead
When the Vegas Golden Knights get on a roll they can look as unstoppable as any other team in the league.
They put that on display in the third period of their 5-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks in Game 4 of their Second Round series on Sunday night.
Entering the period trailing by a goal, the Golden Knights erupted for three goals in just under six minutes to storm back and take control of the game and the series. They now have a 3-1 series lead and will have a chance to reach the Western Conference Final for the second time in their first three years on Tuesday night.
Even though new starting goalie Robin Lehner recorded a shutout on Saturday (his second shutout of the series), the Golden Knights still gave Marc-Andre Fleury the start on Sunday night due to the back-to-back situation. It was just Fleury’s third start since the season resumed, and while he was not perfect he still played good enough to get the win and made a couple of standout saves, including a stunning glove save on Elias Pettersson in the second period when the game was tied.
For Fleury, it is his 81st career postseason win moving him ahead of Ken Dryden for sole possession for sixth place in the NHL’s all-time list.
[NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]
While Fleury was making the most of what has become a rare opportunity for him, the line of Max Pacioretty, Mark Stone, and William Karlsson was absolutely crushing the Canucks when it was on the ice.
Pacioretty scored a pair of goals and added an assist in the win, while the Canucks had absolutely zero answer for that trio.
In just under 10 minutes of ice-time during 5-on-5 play, that line combined for two goals and outshot the Canucks by a 12-5 margin.
The Golden Knights have four lines that can beat teams, but that line is becoming the driving force behind their success. Stone is one of the league’s best all-around players and Pacioretty is still a top-tier goal-scorer. Add in another strong two-way player in Karlsson and it is a line that is going to cause havoc for teams.
After being held scoreless in his first three games this postseason, Pacioretty has now scored five goals over the past five games and recorded 20 shots on goal.
Another underrated player for Vegas this postseason has been defenseman Shea Theodore, and he had another big performance in Game 4 by logging 23 minutes, recording five shots on goal, and picking up two more assists to give him 10 this postseason.
With Sunday’s win the Golden Knights have won 10 of their first 12 games since the season resumed and have been arguably the most impressive team in the bubbles.
No. 1 Vegas Golden Knights vs. No. 5 Vancouver Canucks (VGK lead 3-1)
Game 1: Golden Knights 5, Canucks 0 (recap)
Game 2: Canucks 5, Golden Knights 2 (recap)
Game 3: Golden Knights 3, Canucks 0 (recap)
Game 4: Golden Knights 5, Canucks 3
Game 5: Tuesday, Sept. 1, 9:45 p.m. ET – NBCSN (livestream)
*Game 6: Thursday, Sept. 3 – TBD
*Game 7: Friday, Sept. 4 – TBD
MORE STANLEY CUP COVERAGE:
• Stanley Cup Playoffs Second Round schedule