It’s official: the Vegas Golden Knights are the Western Conference Champions and the first to capture a spot in the 2018 Stanley Cup final after beating the Winnipeg Jets in five games. The Jets came out strong in this series but it wasn’t enough as the Knights continued to prove to everyone that they are worthy of the Cup. Here’s the recap:
The Jets could still feel the momentum after coming off their game seven win in Nashville as this series started against Vegas. It took a minute and five seconds into the first for Dustin Byfuglien to rocket one past Fleury to get the first goal of the series. Winnipeg turned on the jets after that as Patrik Laine got a powerplay goal five minutes later. Joel Armia made it 3-0 less than a minute later with a deflection and though Vegas challenged for goaltender inference, it was deemed a goal after review. Now down 3-0, it didn’t take Brayden McNabb long to get the Knights on the board as he scored 45 seconds after Armia’s goal. Mark Scheifele would add one more for the Jets in the second while William Karlsson added one for the Knights in the third, leaving the Jets with the first win of the series. Final score: 4-2 Jets.
The Golden Knights found their game as it was all about them for game two. Tomas Tater got his first of the playoffs with a tip-in from Shea Theodore to give the Knights their first lead. Jonathan Marchessault made it 2-0 four minutes later with a backhand past Hellebuyck. Kyle Connor was able to cut the lead in half on the powerplay a little bit under halfway through the third but it wasn’t enough as Marchessault got his second of the night just over a minute later to secure the win. Final score: 3-1 Knights.
Now in Vegas, the Knights started the game the same way their game production’s crew did: BIG. A turnover from Mark Scheifele led to Jonathan Marchessault scoring 35 seconds into the game. The Jets weren’t able to tie until five minutes into the second as Scheifele tipped one past Fleury. However, the tie did not last long as James Neal rushed the puck from center and scored 12 seconds later, giving the Knights the lead again. Alex Tuch snapped one past Hellebuyck to make it 3-1 halfway through the second, which would later be the game-winning goal. Scheifele got his second of the night but it wasn’t much help as Marchessault buried an empty net goal to make the series 2-1. Final score: 4-2 Knights.
Once again, it didn’t take Vegas long to get on the scoreboard. William Karlsson got a powerplay goal two and a half minutes into the first to take the lead. The Jets tied it up halfway through the second as Patrik Laine got his fifth of the playoffs with a powerplay goal. But once again, the Knights were able to take the lead not long after as Tomas Nosek scored 43 seconds later. Tyler Myers was able to tie it up again early in the third and the game looked as though it might go to its first overtime. Reilly Smith had other plans as a turnover allowed him to get a breakaway and score the game-winning goal. Final score: 3-2 Knights.
The Winnipeg Jets needed to win this game otherwise it was season over for them. With the Winnipeg Whiteout behind them, they looked to force a game six but it wasn’t enough as the Knights were better. Josh Morrissey failed to get the puck out of the Jets zone which led to Alex Tuch scoring the first goal of the game for Vegas. Josh Morrissey made up for his first-period mistake as he ripped one past Fleury late in the period. The game-winning goal came from an unlikely trio as Tomas Nosek passed it to Luca Sbisa who fired at the net and Ryan Reeves deflected it for the win and a trip to the Stanley Cup final. Final score: 2-1 Knights.
The Vegas Golden Knights will play the winner of the Washington Capitals vs Tampa Bay Lightning series. Game six goes tonight at 8PM EST. The Lightning currently lead the series 3-2.