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Lack of scoring doesn’t discourage Golden Knights’ 2nd line

Updated September 3, 2020 - 9:42 pm

Most of the shifts by the Golden Knights’ second line during five-on-five in the Western Conference semifinals have been against Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson.

It’s a matchup that wings Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith along with center Paul Stastny have controlled for the most part.

All that’s been missing is a goal.

“They’re playing against Pettersson a lot of the nights here and a lot of the shifts, or (Bo) Horvat, so you’re getting tough assignments,” coach Pete DeBoer said Thursday morning before Game 6. “But overall I’ve been pleased. I’d like to see them stick a couple in, get rewarded, start feeling that offensive mojo again.”

With Marchessault, Smith and Stastny on the ice at full strength during Games 3 through 5, the Knights produced 62 percent of the shot attempts (34-21) and 65.4 percent of the scoring chances (17-9), according to Natural Stat Trick.

When that trio was matched against Pettersson’s line, Natural Stat Trick showed the Knights were even more dangerous with nearly 69 percent of the scoring chances produced (13-6).

However, Marchessault and Stastny were held without a point over those three games. One of Smith’s two assists came on the power play in Game 3.

Pettersson deflected in the winning goal in Game 5 on Tuesday when the Knights’ first line was on the ice. He scored on the power play in Vancouver’s Game 4 loss.

”I think when we try to overdo it, we get away from each other,” Stastny said. “We try to make too many individual plays and turn the puck over. I think when that happens, I think we feed into their forwards, and that’s when they’re really good.”

Locals only

Knights defenseman Shea Theodore grew up watching the Canucks in Aldergrove, British Columbia, but was passed over in the draft by his hometown team, which selected Hunter Shinkaruk with the No. 24 pick. Theodore went two selections later to Anaheim.

Theodore’s seven-game point streak ended Thursday in the Knights’ 4-0 loss. He was looking to join Pittsburgh’s Larry Murphy (nine games in 1995) and Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman (eight games in 2018) as the only defensemen in the past 25 years with a point streak of eight games or longer.

Theodore posted eight points (one goal, seven assists) in the first five games against Vancouver. Shinkaruk, meanwhile, plays in the Kontinental Hockey League.

“He’s definitely a good, young defenseman in the league,” Canucks coach Travis Green said. “We’ve got to be aware of him, try to eliminate him. But it’s easier said than done, much like you see other good players in the league having success in the playoffs.”

Anti-racism efforts

The NHL announced a series of initiatives focused on fighting racism and making hockey more inclusive.

Among the steps being taken by the league and NHL Players’ Association is the formation of four committees to “advance both the inclusion and diversity of the sport.”

Knights president Kerry Bubolz was selected to serve on the Executive Inclusion Council. Brian Killingsworth, the team’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer, is a member of the Fan Inclusion Committee.

Forward Ryan Reaves’ spot on the Player Inclusion Committee is pending, according to the announcement.

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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