Western Conference Final Review: Vegas Golden Knights March on to Stanley Cup Final

Western Conference Final
WINNIPEG, MB - MAY 20: Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Vegas Golden Knights talks with Connor Hellebuyck #37 of the Winnipeg Jets after the Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Winnipeg Jets in Game Five of the Western Conference Finals during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bell MTS Place on May 20, 2018 in Winnipeg, Canada. (Photo by David Lipnowski/Getty Images)

The Vegas Golden Knights are heading to the Stanley Cup Final after defeating the Winnipeg Jets in five games. They won four straight after dropping Game 1. Vegas will become the third team to head to the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season. The two other teams to accomplish this were the Toronto Arenas (1918) and the St. Louis Blues (1968).

Western Conference Final Review

Taking the Early Lead Was Key for the Golden Knights

The Golden Knights took control of the series after losing game one in Winnipeg. The next four games the Golden Knights were all over the Jets. In four of the five games, the Knights scored the first goal including in games three and four scoring within two minutes in the first period. Jonathan Marchessault led the Knights with four goals and two assists in the series. After scoring so early in four of the five games, Vegas seemed to keep their foot on the gas and control the momentum which was another key part of their series win.

Special Teams

The Jets power play went 3-17 in the five-game series. It seemed that the power play was the only time they had a chance to score in most of the games. The power play killed them in Game 5 as they went scoreless of four power plays. Vegas did a great job of keeping the Jets power play at ease during the Series.

The Golden Knights were 2-11 on their powerplays. With the Knights having a stranglehold on the Jets for most of the series, their powerplay looked good but for most of the games, it looked like Vegas was on the powerplay even during five on five play.

5 vs 5 Play

The Vegas Golden Knights dominated the five on five players during this series for the first two periods. Winnipeg outplayed Vegas in the third in Game 2, 3, and 4. The Knights kept the Jets until control in the third period of game five. Vegas always had an answer for the Jets whenever they scored by answering them with a goal within two minutes of getting scored on.

Goaltending  Match-Up

Marc-Andre Fleury was one of the key reasons the Vegas Golden Knights won this series and the Goaltending Battle. Game after game Fleury kept the Golden Knights ahead especially in Game 3 and 4 when Winnipeg was strong in the third period and always looked to get back into the game.

Connor Hellebuyck, who is one of three finalists for the Vezina Trophy this year, struggled in the series. His puck handling behind the net cost the Jets on multiple occasions and led to opportunities for the Knights which they were able to cash in on. He also gave up soft goals in the series which ended up costing the Jets.

The Golden Knights will take on the winner of the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning series. The Bolts lead the series three games to two and will look to clinch the series tomorrow night in Washington.

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