The best words in hockey — unless, of course, you’re a fan of either team and you’ll be sweating out every second of every play. There will be three Game 7s before the conference finals get underway, and the second and last one set for Edmonton pits the upstart Canucks against the top-seeded Golden Knights on Friday night.
Vancouver is playing with house money; it entered this second-round matchup as the underdog and then trailed 3-1 in the best-of-seven. But no one should have counted out this young and eager squad. Despite starting netminder Jacob Markstrom being “unfit to play” for Games 5 and 6, the Canucks leveled the series as Thatcher Demko came in and stole the show.
He made 42 saves in Game 5 to backstop the team to a 2-1 win and then posted a 48-save shutout in Game 6 to bring about Game 7. Of course, head coach Travis Green wouldn’t show his cards and would not name his starter for Game 7, although it was expected to be Demko between the pipes.
Regardless of who its masked man will be, Vancouver and its young guns, including captain Bo Horvat, Brock Boeser, 2020 Calder Trophy finalist Quinn Hughes and 2019 Calder Trophy winner Elias Pettersson, have been bankrolling things while the steady hand of veteran J.T. Miller leads the way.
As for the Golden Knights, everyone thought they had the best odds to skate away with an easy series victory. Instead, they’re playing in the franchise’s second Game 7, and they’re hoping for a better outcome. They lost last year in a do-or-die game to the Sharks in overtime (we all know what happened there, but if you need a refresher, click here).
Speaking of that 2019 Sharks team, their head coach was none other than current Vegas bench boss Pete DeBoer. He was fired by San Jose and hired by Vegas way back in December. He’s wheeler-dealer in Game 7s and sports a flashy 4-0 record in them.
The one big question mark for Vegas, because of course DeBoer wouldn’t say, either, is: Who will be in net? Will he double down on Robin Lehner, who took Ls in the last two games? Or will he go with Marc-Andre Fleury, who knows a thing or two about Game 7s?
• 466 career wins (5th in NHL history)
• 81 career playoff wins (6th all-time)
• 61 career shutouts (18th all-time)
• 15 career playoff shutouts (6th all-time)
• .916 SV% in seven career Game 7s
All potentially sitting on the Golden Knights bench tonight for Game 7.
— Jesse Granger (@JesseGranger_) September 4, 2020
Sports Grind Entertainment has all the action as the Canucks and Golden Knights battle it out for a spot in the Western Conference finals against the Stars.
Canucks vs. Golden Knights score, updates from Game 7
(All times Eastern.)
8:13 p.m. — Canucks have some guys who have been there, too.
8:09 p.m. — Maybe don’t bet against DeBoer.