WINNIPEG – The Vegas Golden Knights are back on equal footing with the Winnipeg Jets thanks to a victory in game two of the Western Conference Final.
The Golden Knights bounced back from a game one defeat with a 3-1 win over the Jets on Monday at Bell MTS Place. The best-of-seven series is now tied at one game apiece.
Tomas Tatar and Jonathan Marchessault scored in the first period to give the Knights the lead for good. Marchessault added his second goal of the game in the third period to help secure the win for Vegas.
Kyle Connor scored the Jets’ lone goal in the loss.
Just like in the series opener the Jets came out flying. Just 30 seconds into the game Mark Scheifele got the puck under Marc-Andre Fleury but it was swept away at the last possible moment. And only a minute later Nikolaj Ehlers hit the goal post as the Jets were swarming in the early going.
The momentum began to swing in the Knights’ favour as the period wore on. With around six minutes left in the first period, Paul Stastny was stripped of the puck in his own end. The Golden Knights worked the puck around to Tatar and after being denied on the first try, he tucked in the loose puck under Connor Hellebuyck for his first goal of the playoffs. Shea Theodore and Ryan Carpenter had the assists and the Golden Knights had a one goal lead.
With just under three minutes to go in the period, Connor turned the puck over in the neutral zone as the Jets defence was changing lines. Marchessault had a clear lane to the net and he made no mistake as he beat Hellebuyck for the Knights’ second goal. Reilly Smith had the only assist on Marchessault’s fifth goal of the post-season. The shots were 13-11 for Vegas in the first frame.
Neither team found the net in the middle stanza where the Jets outshot the Knights 8-7.
With 12:43 left in regulation time Connor brought the building back to life. From a sharp angle Connor beat Fleury for his third goal of the playoffs. It was assisted by Ehlers and Tyler Myers and the Jets were within a single goal.
But just a little over a minute later the Knights silenced the crowd again. Smith sent the puck in front for a wide open Marchessault and he deposited the backhand for his second goal of the game. William Karlsson had the other assist to restore the Knights’ two goal lead as they hung on for a 3-1 win.
The Jets used the exact same lineup as in game one. The series now shifts to Las Vegas for the next two contests with game three scheduled for Wednesday. The opening face-off is set for 8:00 pm CT.
More to come.
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