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November 26, 2020

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Keys to a Vegas victory in Game 7, sponsored by Credit One Bank

Lehner

Jason Franson / The Canadian Press via AP

Vegas Golden Knights goalie Robin Lehner and teammate Mark Stone react after the Vancouver Canucks scored during the third period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey second-round playoff series in Edmonton, Alberta, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020.

The Golden Knights will play the second Game 7 in their history, when they take on the Vancouver Canucks in a do-or-die elimination game at 6 p.m. today on NBC Sports Network.

The Golden Knights led 3-1 in the series but dropped the last two games to force a Game 7. Vegas lost its only other Game 7, and the Canucks are 6-5 all-time.

Here are three keys to victory in Game 7 against the Vancouver Canucks, sponsored by Credit One Bank.

Get the power play going

The Golden Knights were 0-for-5 with the man advantage in Game 6 and have failed to score on their last eight power plays dating back to Game 4. Before that, they had scored four of their last 12, so the lack of power-play success coincides with the scoring touch drying up altogether. Vegas has just one goal in the last two games, both losses. Coach Peter DeBoer likes to say the power play bleeds over from the team’s play at 5-on-5, so getting the special-teams unit going could help open some floodgates for the rest of the offense.

Clamp down on Vancouver's young stars

In Game 2 it was Elias Pettersson. In Game 6 it was Quinn Hughes. In both Game 5 and Game 6, it was Thatcher Demko. In each of the Canucks’ three victories, they have had a herculean performance from one of their rookies or second-year players. The Golden Knights bottled up Pettersson and Hughes in Games 1 and 3, and getting back to that will help in Game 7. Vegas spent the early part of the series forechecking and hitting the two stars and not allowing them to generate offense from the defensive end, where they are deadly on the breakout. Look for a physical performance tonight.

Don’t worry about the past

It’s the second year in a row the Golden Knights had a 3-1 lead in a series, only to face a Game 7. Vegas lost that Game 7 to the Sharks last year, and if that is in any of the players’ heads, then the Canucks series is already over. Keep in mind before the famous major penalty that sparked Vegas' collapse, the Golden Knights led 3-0 in the game after a heartbreaking double-overtime loss in Game 6 at home. The Vancouver Game 6 pales in comparison, so expect a Golden Knights team ready for the challenge of moving on to the next round.

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