Vegas Golden Knights’ Nick Cousins (21) and Vancouver Canucks’ Brock Boeser (6) get tangled up during second period NHL Western Conference Stanley Cup playoff action in Edmonton, Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Vegas Golden Knights’ Nick Cousins (21) and Vancouver Canucks’ Brock Boeser (6) get tangled up during second period NHL Western Conference Stanley Cup playoff action in Edmonton, Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Golden Knights crush Canucks 5-0 to take Game 1 of NHL playoff series

Lehner gets shutout as Vegas proves too much for Vancouver

The Vegas Golden Knights’ big guns were blazing and goaltender Robin Lehner recorded his first career playoff shutout to beat the Vancouver Canucks 5-0 in NHL playoff action Sunday.

Lehner turned aside 26 shots as the Golden Knights grabbed a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Reilly Smith, Jonathan Marchessault, Alex Tuch, Mark Stone, and Max Pacioretty did the scoring, chasing Vancouver starter Jacob Markstrom from the net.

Markstrom, making his 11th consecutive playoff start, stopped 29-of-34 shots and was pulled midway through the third period for Thatcher Demko after allowing the fifth goal.

The Canucks had just tiny handful of dangerous scoring chances. It’s the first time they have been shut out since losing 3-0 to the Minnesota Wild in the first game of their qualifying series.

Game 2 goes Tuesday at Rogers Place.

Lehner is 9-1 since being acquired at the trade deadline in a three-team deal including the Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks, and appears to have displaced Marc-Andre Fleury as the starter.

His win won’t do anything to cool down a goaltending controversy that flared up over the weekend when Fleury’s agent tweeted a doctored photo suggesting Vegas head coach Peter DeBoer is stabbing Fleury in the back.

The Golden Knights had not played since dispatching the Blackhawks Tuesday in the first round, but didn’t show any rust.

They pushed the Canucks hard on the forecheck, creating a lot of dangerous chances and leading to the first goal midway through the first period. Smith, circling behind the net fired the puck through the crease that bounced off a skate to Marchessault for him to tuck in behind Markstrom.

They scored three times in the second period to put the game away. Smith scored off a rebound on the power play. Then Stone, standing in the slot, redirected a wrist shot from Nate Schmidt to make it 3-0. Tuch then chased down an arching clearing pass from Nick Cousins, racing past the Canucks’ defence to shoot low gloveside and in.

In the third period, Stone, behind the net, passed in front to Pacioretty for the one-timer.

Smith, Stone, and Tuch each added an assist.

Smith and Stone lead the Golden Knights in playoff points with 10. Tuch has five goals and two assists. Marchessault has three goals and eight points.

The Golden Knights, the top Western Conference seed, are continuing the torrid play that saw them go 11-2 before the NHL shut down the regular season on March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the return to play tournament, Vegas won all three round-robin seeding games and then dispatched the Blackhawks 4-1.

Lehner is getting the lion’s share of the work in the playoffs. Sunday was his seventh start compared with two for Fleury.

On Saturday, Fleury’s agent, Allan Walsh, tweeted a meme of Fleury on the ice in his Knights’ gear getting impaled through the torso from the back by a broadsword that bore DeBoer’s name.

Fleury addressed the controversy on a Zoom call with reporters before the game.

He said he is very tight with Walsh, and said he asked him to take the tweet down so it doesn’t become a distraction. Walsh did so earlier Sunday.

“He (Walsh) was just trying to protect me a bit,” said Fleury.

“We all want to win right? That’s why we’re here.

“I don’t want to be any distraction for my team.”

READ MORE: Canucks win 6-2, knock defending champion St. Louis Blues out of NHL playoffs

Fleury was asked twice if he knew ahead of time Walsh was going to post the picture.

He declined to answer both times.

Fleury won the Stanley Cup three times with Pittsburgh and backstopped Vegas to the Cup final in its inaugural season in 2018.

Vancouver advanced to the second round by beating the Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues, sending them home from the isolation bubble in Edmonton.

All conference games are being played at Rogers Place, with no fans in the stands and players isolating between contests to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

THE CANADIAN PRESS

For more news from B.C. and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

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

Heavy flows of water pooled on Davis Road after a lead to a fire hydrant burst on Thursday Jan. 21. (Jim Tredwell photo)
Fire hydrant connection burst at Davis Road and Battie Drive

Crews worked well into the night on Thursday Jan. 21 to staunch the flow of water

A pedestrian was transported to hospital after being struck while crossing Roberts Street. (Cole Schisler photo)
Pedestrian struck crossing Roberts Street

The driver remained on scene and is cooperating with police

Emergency crews were called to a semi-truck crash along the Trans-Canada Highway at Oyster Sto’Lo Road on Friday, Jan. 22. (Cole Schisler/Black Press)
Semi truck crashes off the side of the highway in Ladysmith

Driver taken to hospital as precaution after single-vehicle crash Friday

Dog owners, from left, Marlyn Briggs with Nayla, Marjory Sutherland with Effie and Mick, and Christina Godbolt with Conon walk their pets frequently at the Chemainus Ball Park but are growing increasingly concerned about drugs being found discarded in the area. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Puppy rushed to emergency 3 times after ingesting drugs in Vancouver Island public spaces

Dog owners walking in Chemainus parks urged to take caution

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the legislature, Jan. 11, 2021. (B.C. government)
Vancouver Island smashes COVID-19 high: 47 new cases in a day

Blowing past previous records, Vancouver Island is not matching B.C.s downward trend

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

A long-term care worker receives the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic in Nanaimo earlier this month. (Island Health photo)
All Island seniors in long-term care will be vaccinated by the end of this weekend

Immunization of high-risk population will continue over the next two months

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)
Another staff member tests positive for COVID-19 at Nanaimo care home

Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence employee is isolating, says Island Health

Actions of Vancouver Island RCMP emergency response team members prevented a potential head-on collision accident on the Trans-Canada Highway on Jan. 19, says Nanaimo RCMP. (News Bulletin file)
Eight cars evade vehicle driving on wrong side of highway, says Nanaimo RCMP

Incident occurred near Trans-Canada Highway-Morden Road intersection earlier this week

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

Most Read