Winnipeg Jets vs. Vegas Golden Knights
The Winnipeg Jets, who finished as the second-best team in the NHL regular season, came off a Game 7 victory over the reigning Western Conference champion Nashville Predators. The win earned them a spot in their first ever Western Conference Final. They faced the Vegas Golden Knights, who have defied all the odds by making it into the Conference Final and did it with only two losses in the first two rounds combined.
The Jets wasted absolutely no time in getting on the board as defenseman Dustin Byfuglien put a slapshot past veteran netminder Marc-Andre Fleury just over a minute into regulation. The woes didn’t end there as the Jets got two more passed Fleury, one off a shot from Patrick Liane on a power play and the other on a greasy goal from Joel Armia.
The Golden Knights did show signs of life. They scored a goal on a delayed penalty off a wrister from defenseman Brayden McNabb.
The Jets picked up right where they left off, scoring a power-play goal from Mark Scheifele. This was his league-leading post-season goal number 12 and gave the Jets a 4-1 lead.
The Golden Knights weren’t out just yet, as William Karlsson put one behind Winnipeg netminder Connor Hellebuyck on a beautiful redirect. Although the rest of the period finished with no goals, both teams pushed the pace and physicality. Vegas sustained pressure in the Winnipeg zone to no avail.
The final period was scoreless, even after pulling Fleury for the sixth attacker. The final score was 4-2 in favor of the Jets. This marks the first time that Vegas has ever trailed in a playoff series. This is also the furthest that the Jets have made it into the post-season since moving from Atlanta.
Game 2 of the Western Conference Final is on Monday night in Winnipeg at 8 p.m. EST. Vegas will attempt to close the gap and even out the series and Winnipeg will try to extend it.
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