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

Donated sculpture in Sidney’s Beacon Park a testament to perseverance

Victoria artist Armando Barbon picked up sculpting 22 years ago

Greater Victoria businesses come together to help Island kids

Langford Lowe’s raises funds for youth mental health all month

Sidney builds community resilience through neighbourhood gatherings

Meet Your Street needs residents to create gatherings, safe interactions

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Saanich for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

POLL: Do you plan on allowing your children to go trick or treating this year?

This popular annual social time will look quite different this year due to COVID-19

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

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

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Most Read