We’re all set for Game 3 between the Vegas Golden Knights and the Chicago Blackhawks.
It is a hockey feast this weekend with Games 3 & 4 of this Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 1 matchup, and the Vegas Golden Knights currently hold a 2-0 series lead.
Chicago were much better in Game 2 with Patrick Kane going off for three points, and they will be playing desperate hockey this weekend.
On that note, let’s delve into some storylines ahead of Game 3…
Storyline 1 – Who’s in net?
With no media availability today, we likely won’t know who starts between the pipes until the teams hit the ice for warmups.
But there will be plenty of guessing before then.
You may wonder why given that Robin Lehner has been good in Games 1 and 2, while going 7-0-0 since being acquired by the Golden Knights at the Trade Deadline.
However, with a back-to-back this weekend we will see Marc-Andre Fleury at some point but the question is when?
I believe in riding the hot hand and it makes sense for Lehner to start Game 3, win and then start Fleury in Game 4 to help the Knights close the series out.
It is a tough one to call but this is going to be a big storyline throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs given the two-headed goalie monster the Golden Knights have created.
Storyline 2 – Unfit to Play
Ah, the new popular phrase in the National Hockey League.
“Unfit to Play.”
This is a new world we live in post COVID-19 and any absence, even if it is a normal hockey injury, will now be filed under “Unfit to Play.”
It is a frustrating development for fans who want to know everything, and also a frustrating development for the media who now have an impossible job when it comes to working out lineups.
Pacioretty, who missed all of the round-robin games as well as the exhibition game against the Arizona Coyotes, returned for Game 1 and had four shots on goal in over 18 minutes of total ice time.
However, Vegas’ leading scorer during the regular season was a dramatic late scratch for Game 2, and it isn’t clear whether he will be good to go for Game 3.
Storyline 3 – Fire up the PP
It is a small sample size but the Golden Knights have gone 0/3 on the power play during this series against the Blackhawks so far.
They have generated just nine shots on goal in those attempts and the PP needs to start firing on all cylinders.
While the power play not clicking into life hasn’t hurt the Golden Knights against the Hawks, it will eventually.
The Knights have enough potent weapons to be a real force on the man advantage, even without Max Pacioretty in the lineup, and they will need to be a lot better on the PP in Game 3 if they are to go three up in the series given that they will now be going up against a desperate Chicago team scrapping for their lives.