How to Watch Golden Knights vs. Jets

Grant SmithMay 13, 2018

Jonathan Marchessault picked up a pair of assists in Saturday's 4-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final.

Another area to watch in this series is how well the Golden Knights defend off the rush.

Winnipeg advanced to the first conference final in the city's history by defeating Minnesota to open the playoffs before downing Presidents' Trophy-winning Nashville, which finished three points ahead of the second-place Jets in the regular-season standings.

Defenseman Dustin Byfuglien opened the scoring only 1:05 into the game with a blistering slap shot in transition that eluded Marc-Andre Fleury.

Brayden McNabb's hard wrist shot snuck its way past Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck to make it 3-1 after one period.

"We've been the gum on Canada's shoe for a long time, everyone looks down on Winnipeg", said fan Adam Williscroft, decked out in his Jets jersey with the accessory of the day - a can of beer in hand. Vegas managed only 20 shots on goal in the entire game, and seven in the third period.

"We were chasing the game all night", Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant said.

The Golden Knights closed the gap back to two when William Karlsson netted his fifth goal of the playoffs, also on the power play. Right winger Blake Wheeler is second on the squad in points with three goals and 12 assists in the postseason.

Vegas has created nearly no offense during 5-on-5 play, mustering only 13 shots on goal through 40 minutes.

Uncharacteristic 1st period went way beyond the score.

Laine made it 2-0 at 6:49, scoring a power-play goal on a one-timer off a cross-ice pass from Wheeler.

Winnipeg's lead grew to 3-0 after defenceman Ben Chiarot found himself on the forecheck behind Fleury's net, dug out the puck and sent it to the crease, where it bounced off forward Joel Armia's skate and in.

The over has hit in three of Winnipeg's last five outings.

Experience tells the coach and his players they shouldn't be overly concerned about losing the opening game of the Eastern Conference finals at home.

The Jets' fast, deep and talented team had 114 points this season and trailed only the Predators' league-high total by three points. "We made our way back throughout the game".

One of the best parts of the National Hockey League playoffs is that anything can happen, but that doesn't mean that certain teams don't head into each round with a strong advantage than the others.

"We didn't have much of a rest", Byfuglien said. "We have to be on our toes, ready to play and have a strong first five minutes".

These are two pretty similar teams in that they both are opportunistic and thrive on riding waves of momentum. "I'm proud to be where we are right now". Had we lost here, it would have been an every second game continuation from the last round. The next-closest in goals for the Jets is center Paul Stastny, who has accounted for six goals and eight assists.

"We want to continue to prove people wrong", Perron said. But there's something especially alien about playing hockey against Vegas, a team that didn't quite exist a year ago, based in a city better known for debauchery than athletics of a non-illicit variety, surrounded by the dust and blowing detritus of the Mojave Desert.

Puck drops: 4:00 p.m.

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