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Game One Recap: Jets Strike First

The Winnipeg Jets grabbed an early three goal lead, and came away with a 4-2 victory in game one.

Vegas Golden Knights v Winnipeg Jets - Game One
Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Vegas Golden Knights reacts as Mark Scheifele #55 is congratulated by his teammate Paul Stastny #25 of the Winnipeg Jets after scoring a second period goal in Game One of the Western Conference Finals during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bell MTS Place on May 12, 2018 in Winnipeg, Canada.
Photo by Jason Halstead/Getty Images

If you tuned in late for game one, you missed the bulk of the scoring. The Winnipeg Jets jumped out to a 3-0 lead 7:35 into the game, and held on to beat the Vegas Golden Knights by a 4-2 score in game one of the third round series.

Dustin Byfuglien kept his dominant playoff performance going, as he opened the scoring after one-timing a drop pass from Mark Scheifele just 1:05 into the game. The Jets made Vegas pay for taking a penalty, when Patrik Laine pulled off a vintage Patrik Laine after a feed from Blake Wheeler 6:49 in. The lead quickly expanded to three when a play that was later challenged ended with the puck going in off the skate of Joel Armia and in. After review, the refs awarded the goal. 3-0, and just 7:35 gone. Vegas responded quickly to cut the lead to two, with Brayden McNabb wristing one off of Connor Hellebuyck’s glove and in. That was at the 8:10 mark of the first. Like I said, if you showed up late, you missed a lot. That was all the scoring for the first period, with Winnipeg putting up 12 shots compared to Vegas’ six.

The Jets once again seemed the better team in the second, and increased their lead via the power play when Conn Smythe candidate Mark Scheifele tipped in his 12th of the post-season. The lead was once again decreased to two when William Karlsson delfected in a power play goal of his own with 4:05 left in the frame. The Jets outshot the Golden Knights 10-7 in the second.

The overwhelming majority of the third was a lot of back and forth tangling, but not a lot of any real chances.

Ten Thoughts:

  1. Winnipeg may have only had two days between games, and Vegas had six, but the extra time off didn’t do any favours to Vegas, who saw three goals in their own net in the first half of the first period.
  2. Mark Scheifele for Conn Smythe! I need to make buttons!
  3. If Ryan Reaves and Dutin Byfuglien want to battle all series, I’m for it if Buff stay out of the box.
  4. Connor Hellebuyck didn’t have to do much. He kind of flubbed the first goal against, didn’t have a chance on the second, and stopped 18 of 20.
  5. Marc-Andre Fleury looked quite beatable in this game, after a stellar ride to this point in the playoffs.
  6. Scheifele and Paul Stastny were dominant at the faceoff dot, combining for 16 of 26.
  7. The Jet blocked 22 shots in this one, as score effects gave Vegas a few more attempts but the inability for the pucks to actually get on net meant the Jets had more shots on goal, but fewer shot attempts.
  8. William Karlsson is a good hockey player.
  9. Blake Wheeler may be stupendously underrated, but I’m going to give him some love. Three assists tonight, including the pass that set up Patrik Laine. He’ a dominant force for this club, and a big reason for their success.
  10. SEVEN WINS TO GO! Game two is Monday at 7 p.m. CDT.