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

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

Cowichan Valley Capitals forward Sean Ramsay comes away with the puck after a battle along the boards during a game against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on May 1, 2021. (Elena Rardon/Black Press Media)
Three wins in a row for Cowichan Capitals

BCHL team enjoying best stretch of the season

Friends have set up a GoFundMe account for the family of Dorothy Littau, who was diagnosed with colon cancer last month. (Submitted)
GoFundMe campaign set up ‘ever-present force in South Cowichan schools’

Dorothy Littau was diagnosed with colon cancer in April

Peter and Wayne Richmond and 49th Parallel Grocery won the award for Business Achievement 20+ Employees at the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce’s 22nd Black Tie Awards on Tuesday, May 4, 2021. (Submitted)
Black Tie winners announced during virtual awards event

Recipients gave speeches by phone while being live-streamed on YouTube

Cobble Hill’s Bob Collins (left) and reservist Keenan Hayes stand at attention at Cobble Hill Cenotaph in this photo taken on Oct. 22, 2019, to honour members of the Canadian military who died in Canada in non-combat roles. (File photo)
MacGregor seeks to honour armed services members who died on Canadian soil

MP introduces bill to mark Oct. 22 as “Canadian Armed Forces Members’ Day”

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O���Connell photo)
Clash between loggers, activists halts forestry operations over Fairy Creek

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

The courthouse in Nanaimo, B.C. (News Bulletin file)
Island man sentenced in Nanaimo after causing a dog unnecessary pain and suffering

Kiefer Tyson Giroux, 26, of Nanoose Bay, given six-month sentence

Following a one-year pause due to the pandemic, the Snowbirds were back in the skies over the Comox Valley Wednesday (May 5) morning. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Video: Snowbirds hold first training session in Comox Valley in more than 2 years

The team will conduct their training from May 4 to 26 in the area

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
2 cougars killed following attack on woman in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

Most Read