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Golden Knights expect Canucks to bounce back in Game 2

Updated August 24, 2020 - 6:16 pm

Pete DeBoer’s memory betrayed him a bit.

As the Golden Knights prepare for Tuesday’s Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals following a 5-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks, DeBoer, the team’s coach, recalled another club that took a beating in a series opener and bounced back.

“I remember a Game 1 of a playoff series last year in Vegas where Vegas beat San Jose and I was behind the bench 7-0 in Game 1,” DeBoer said Monday during a videoconference call. “Our group in San Jose at that time responded pretty strongly in Game 2, and that series ended up going seven.”

Actually, that all happened in 2018 and the Knights went on to win the series in six games. But, point taken, Pete.

The Knights expect a bounce-back effort from the Canucks on Tuesday at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta.

“It’s one win. We did a lot of good things, but we know there’s going to be a response here,” DeBoer said. “Sometimes you’re better losing 5-nothing than 2-1, and I’m sure we’re going to see their best game and we have to be prepared for that.”

The Knights pushed around Vancouver in nearly every battle along the wall in Game 1 and were faster to loose pucks. See: Alex Tuch’s goal late in the second period.

The Knights finished with a 39-26 edge in shots on goal and also won the special teams battle, an area in which the Canucks thrive.

Vancouver’s top offensive players — Brock Boeser, Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson — were held without a shot on net.

About the only area the Knights didn’t dominate was the faceoff circle, where Vancouver won 63 percent of the draws.

But Canucks coach Travis Green was confident his team would adjust for Game 2.

“I’m sure our team’s pissed off, and they should be,” Green said. “We didn’t play very well (Sunday) night, and when you lose, it doesn’t feel very good. … Any time we’ve asked our team to respond, they’ve always done it.”

King of the hill

Green downplayed the impact that rugged fourth-line forward Ryan Reaves had on Sunday’s game. DeBoer disagreed.

Reaves finished with 11 hits, was constantly chirping the Canucks and baited agitator Antoine Roussel into eventually taking a 10-minute misconduct in the third period.

To paraphrase Jonathan Marchessault after the game, that’s why Reaves was re-signed at $1.75 million for the next two seasons.

“He’s the biggest, toughest guy in the league,” DeBoer said. “Lets everybody play with more freedom and room because they know he’s in the lineup. On the nights that he’s getting the 11 hits and things, he gets publicity. But he has an effect on our lineup every night, making everybody play a little bit bigger.”

Helping Hughes

The Knights’ forecheck set their sights on Hughes and pressured the rookie defenseman, forcing him to give up the puck rather than start the Canucks’ breakout.

Hughes finished with a minus-3 rating in 19:02 and was visibly frustrated on the bench.

“He’s one of the most confident players that I’ve ever played with. He’s one of the most skilled players I’ve ever played with,” defense partner Chris Tanev said. “I have no doubt in my mind when we play next game he’s going to be fine and he’s going to be flying out there.”

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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