Vegas evens series with Winnipeg
WINNIPEG, Manitoba—The Winnipeg Whiteout can be tamed after all.
Since winning 13 games in a row in Bell MTS Place, the Winnipeg Jets have suddenly lost three of the last four in front of their vaunted crowd—the latest a 3-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights Monday, May 14, in Game 2 of the Western Conference final.
The series is now tied 1-1 with Games 3 and 4 scheduled for Las Vegas this week.
The Golden Knights used the same recipe that the Nashville Predators used last round: Score early, build a 2-0 lead through two periods and hold off the high-scoring Jets offense the rest of the way.
Vegas forward Tomas Tatar, who was a healthy scratch in Game 1, scored the first goal of the game, while Jonathan Marchessault added a pair of goals himself to take home-ice advantage from Winnipeg in the series.
Vegas became the first team other than Nashville to beat the Jets in Bell MTS Place since the Los Angeles Kings on Feb. 20.
The Jets received a lone goal from Kyle Connor.
Roseau, Minn., native Dustin Byfuglien, a dominant presence in these Stanley Cup Playoffs, was held without a point and was a minus-2.
Vegas took a 1-0 lead at 13:23 of the first period, when defenseman Shea Theodore had the puck in the high slot and made a touch pass to Tatar at the side of the crease. Tatar's initial attempt went wide, but he collected the rebound off the end wall and slammed it short side before Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck could get back in position.
The Golden Knights added to the lead less than four minutes later, when Jets forward Kyle Connor turned the puck over in the neutral zone, allowing Marchessault to go on a clean breakaway. Marchessault tucked the puck five-hole with his backhand to build a 2-0 lead.
Winnipeg cut the Vegas lead to one at 7:17 of the third period, when Connor converted on the power play.
Connor rushed up the left side and snapped a shot underneath the arm of Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury to get the crowd back into it.
But just 1:28 later, the Golden Knights took advantage of another Winnipeg mistake.
Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba pinched in the neutral zone, creating a two-on-one for Vegas. Former Miami RedHawk Reilly Smith hit Marchessault, who made a deke on top of the crease and scored on his backhand.