It took just 35 seconds for the Vegas Golden Knights to grab a lead, in this one, which they held for all but 12 seconds afterwards, as they topped the Winnipeg Jet 4-2 in Game Three of the Western Conference final. Vegas now lead the best-of-seven series 2-1, with one more game in Vegas before the action returns to Winnipeg.
A sloppy opening shift for the Jets culminated in an ill-timed line change causing a breakaway for Jonathan Marchessault, who deked out Connor Hellebuyck to open the scoring less than a minute into the game.
The Jets failed to get things going in the first, missing passes and missing the net when shooting. A pair of power plays for the Golden Knights did not help, as the Jets were out-shot 10-3 in the first.
Vegas again seemed to be the better team to start the second, but Mark Scheifele managed to tie things up when he tipped a shot off his own leg and in. Game on.
Twelve seconds later, Vegas regained the lead a Hellebuyck went for a skate behind his net to retrieve the puck, only for Erik Haula to steal it and feed the real deal James Neal out front for a gimme goal.
Vega extended their lead a few minutes later after Kyle Connor failed to get the puck in deep, which meant the tired duo of Dustin Byfuglien and Toby Enstrom were caught with rubber legs, and after James Neal got the puck below the goal line, he was able to wrap around the net and find a wide open Alex Tuch who knocked it in to solidify their lead.
After a couple few chances, including a Patrik Laine shot off the post, Scheifele and Blake Wheeler found themselves in the box along with Ryan Carpenter and Cody Eakin in a display of officiating that was poor at best.
With the score 3-1 after two, the Jets would need a quick goal to get themselves back in the game to start the third.
Is 12 seconds quick enough? Because that’s how long it took for Kyle Connor to find Mark Scheifele open in front to tap in his second of the game. His 11th road goal of the post season set a new NHL playoff record, beating the record previously held by Joe Mullen and Sidney Crosby.
Just after the halfway point of the third, Marc-Andre Fleury made a couple ten bell saves to rob Scheifele of a hat-trick and game tying goal.
Winnipeg had a lot of pressure going, though they did allow a Vegas chance by William Karlsson to hit the crossbar. Despite the amount of shots, the Jets failed to find the equalizer, even with an extra attacker. The Jets outshot Vegas 35-30.
The Knights would add another goal into the empty net via Marchessault.
- I thought the opening ceremonies for Vegas were humorous, cheesy and entertaining. If there’s one thing the city of Las Vegas knows, it’s how to entertain.
- The opening goal and the third goal came on very similar circumstances, with forwards at the end of a shift unable to get the puck in deep, and defenders leaving for the bench too soon, vacating space and allowing offensive chances that Vegas capitalized on.
- Speaking of theatrics, Vegas got away with a couple of 10.0 dives in the first period.
- Marc-Andre Fleury’s resurgence continues. The Conn Smythe contender absolutely robbed Scheifele a couple of times in the third.
- Brandon Tanev =/= Nikolaj Ehlers.
- Maybe it was because of the injury to Ehlers, but the second line was largely absent apart from a hit post by Patrik Laine.
- Not Connor Hellebuyck’s best night, and when you’re competing against a hot goalie, you need to be good to give your team a chance.
- Either the penalty kills were really good, or the power plays were bad.
- The 6-on-5 drill needs work.
- Sending Ryan Reaves out there for the last shift sends a message. The message is you’re a bit of a dick, but it’s a message nonetheless.