2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Golden Knights to face Canucks in second round

Vegas gets the up-and-coming Vancouver squad that just knocked out the defending champs.

The Golden Knights were the last team without an opponent in the second round heading into Friday night, but the wait is over.

Vegas, the top seed in the West, will take on the Vancouver Canucks in the second round. The Canucks, the No. 5 seed and the lowest remaining seed in the conference, eliminated the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues in six games Friday night.

Vancouver won 6-2 on Friday, winning the final two games after St. Louis won Games 3 and 4 to even the series.

Game 1 is set for Sunday at 7:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network.

This will be the first playoff meeting between the Pacific Division clubs. Vancouver has advanced past the first round for the first time since their run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011. The Canucks had made three trips to the postseason after that but did not make it out of the first round.

The teams split the only two regular season meetings; Vegas won 6-3 at T-Mobile Arena on Dec. 15, while Vancouver won 5-4 in overtime four days later. Two more matchups were to be had in March, but they were not had due to the league’s pause on March 12 because of COVID-19.

The Canucks are a young team with emerging superstardom. Top center Elias Pettersson led Vancouver with nine points in six games against St. Louis and has 13 (four goals, nine assists) in 10 games. Calder finalist Quinn Hughes is tied for second in scoring with 10 points; he only trails Dallas Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen for most points by a defenseman in the playoffs.

Vancouver, much like Vegas, has reliable production in the crease. Jacob Markstrom is 7-3 in the postseason with a 2.44 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage. Only Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov has a higher save percentage (.934).

Unlike in the first round, the only back-to-back on the docket will happen if only the series goes to a sixth game. All games, locally and nationally, will be broadcast on NBCSN.

Here’s the full schedule:

Game 1 - Sunday, 7:30 p.m.

Game 2 - Tuesday, 6:45 p.m.

Game 3 - Thursday, 6:45 p.m.

Game 4 - Saturday, 5 p.m.

*Game 5 - Monday, Aug. 31 - TBD

*Game 6 - Tuesday, Sept. 1 - TBD

*Game 7 - Thursday, Sept. 4 - TBD

*if necessary