The legend of the Vegas Golden Knights’ expansion season continues. Winnipeg was able to firmly take Game 1 from Vegas in the Western Conference Final, but the Golden Knights have responded with three consecutive wins to push the Jets to the brink of elimination.
None of Vegas’ latest wins have been by wide margins and the Jets were certainly competitive on Friday. It was a back-and-forth affair with the Golden Knights taking the lead three times and Winnipeg answering back the first two times in an eventual 3-2 win by Vegas.
Winnipeg also had a 37-29 edge in shots last night, but Marc-Andre Fleury continued his dominate performance in the playoffs. There were times earlier in Fleury’s career where he was accused of fizzling out once the postseason started, but the now 33-year-old goaltender has played like a Conn Smythe Trophy contender thus far.
The fact that we can reasonably point to an expansion team player as a Conn Smythe Trophy candidate would have seemed insane at the start of the season, but it’s not a stretch anymore as Vegas is just one win away from getting to the Stanley Cup Final. Winnipeg has a team that’s capable of bouncing back and winning this series, but the Golden Knights have shown time and again that it’s a mistake to underestimate them.
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VEGAS 3 WINNIPEG 2 (Golden Knights lead series 3-1)
Reilly Smith scored the game-winning goal and registered an assist. He has two goals and 16 points in 14 contests.
William Karlsson also found the back of the net for Vegas. It was his sixth goal and 13th point in 14 games.
Patrik Laine scored a power-play goal. The Jets sophomore has five goals and 12 points in 16 playoff games.
Tyler Myers accounted for the Jets’ other goal. That gives him four goals and seven points in 15 games.
Vegas’ Jonathan Marchessault is on a six-game point streak. He kept that run going with an assist on Friday.
Marc-Andre Fleury kicked out 35 of 37 Jets shots. He has an 11-3 record, 1.72 GAA, and .945 save percentage in 14 starts.
Connor Hellebuyck allowed three goals on 29 shots. It’s the third straight game where he’s surrendered three games.
Game 5 of the series will be played in Winnipeg at 3:00 p.m. ET on Sunday.