Before their lead ballooned during the third period, the Canucks’ Game 6 win looked a lot like their Game 5 win. The Canucks beat the Golden Knights 4-0 in Game 6 to force yet another Game 7 in an increasingly stunning Second Round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
(Earlier on Thursday, the Flyers survived double overtime to force the Islanders to a Game 7. Back on Wednesday, the Avalanche pushed the Stars to a Game 7. Like the Golden Knights, the Stars and Islanders saw 3-1 series lead shrink to 3-3 ties.)
Now that this back-to-back is set in place, these two teams participate in Game 7 on NBCSN on Friday at 9 p.m. ET (livestream).
Here’s that Virtanen game-winner from early on:
Demko helps Canucks push Golden Knights to Game 7
Just 2:50 into Game 6, Jake Virtanen gave the Canucks a 1-0 lead. As brilliant as Thatcher Demko was in Game 5, it would have been hard to believe that Vancouver would only need that Virtanen goal. But that ended up being true.
Much like in Game 5, the Golden Knights carried long spans of play.
After a generally even first period from a shots on goal perspective, the Golden Knights kept hammering away at Demko without any success. None of that mattered, as the Golden Knights couldn’t beat Demko. That included going a troubling 0-for-5 on the power play.
Demko managed his first career playoff shutout, stopping 48 shots.
Heading into the final frame of regulation, the Golden Knights had a chance to tie things up. Vancouver was merely nursing a 1-0 lead.
Once again, things turned on early strikes. J.T. Miller scored his first goal in some time to make it 2-0 just 1:03 into the third. A bit more than seven minutes later, Quinn Hughes beat Robin Lehner to push Vancouver’s lead to 3-0.
That advantage was inflated by a 4-0 empty-netter. Considering how Demko has been playing, you almost wonder if the Golden Knights wondered if a 2-0 score was already insurmountable.
While Demko breathed life into the Canucks to the surprise of many, the Golden Knights face some tough questions with a quick turnaround in a Game 7 on Friday (9 p.m. ET – NBCSN [livestream]). How can they get to Demko after two masterpiece performances? Should Peter DeBoer turn to Marc-Andre Fleury instead of Lehner after all of that drama, and two failed bids at eliminating the Canucks?
Those could be agonizing decisions, and anxious times for fans of each team.
For fans of hockey as a whole, though? Friday features two Game 7 battles, while Saturday gives you one more. If you thought three of the Second Round’s series would go to Game 7 after all four were at 3-1 … well, then maybe you somehow saw this coming from Demko and the Canucks?
No. 1 Vegas Golden Knights vs. No. 5 Vancouver Canucks (Series tied 3-3)
Game 1: Golden Knights 5, Canucks 0. (recap)
Game 2: Canucks 5, Golden Knights 2. (recap)
Game 3: Golden Knights 3, Canucks 0. (recap)
Game 4: Golden Knights 5, Canucks 3. (recap)
Game 5: Canucks 2, Golden Knights 1. (recap)
Game 6: Canucks 4, Golden Knights 0.
Game 7: Friday, Sept. 4, 9 p.m. ET – NBCSN (livestream)
MORE STANLEY CUP COVERAGE:
• Stanley Cup Playoffs Second Round schedule