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

Joyce Cooper (left) said she had to set an example for Tsilhqot’in communities by sharing her COVID-19 positive results. (Photo submitted)
Tsideldel off-reserve member documents experience of COVID-19

We should all be supporting one another and not judging each other, says Joyce Cooper

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

There are hiking trails aplenty around Quesnel, including at the West Fraser Timber Park right inside the municipality. (Submitted Photo)
Many things to do in the Cariboo

Jim Hilton’s column from Jan. 20

(Tracey Roberts Photo)
COVID-19 rule followers are not suckers

Cassidy Dankochik’s column from the Jan. 20 paper

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

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

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

Most Read