Winnipeg Mounts Early Lead in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final

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The Jets scored three goals in less than seven minutes in their 4-2 win over the Golden Knights on Saturday.

Four goals in the first 8:10 of the game marked what will likely be a fast-paced series between the Vegas Golden Knights and the Winnipeg Jets, as the latter took Game 1 of the Western Conference Final, 4-2.

It took all of 65 seconds for the Jets to figure out Marc-Andre Fleury. Mark Scheifele skated through the neutral zone with the puck and dropped a pass that Dustin Byfuglien stepped into and blasted past Vegas’ netminder. Patrik Laine followed that up on the power play a few minutes later when Blake Wheeler found him all alone on the left side. The quick start is even more impressive considering the Jets just ended their seven-game series against the Nashville Predators less than 48 hours before the puck dropped Saturday.

“We didn’t have much of a rest. We’re still in game mode,” Byfuglien said of his team’s quick turnaround.

Winnipeg’s third goal took a bit of examination when the puck bounced off Joel Armia’s skate and past Fleury. Originally deemed not a goal on the ice, further review flipped the call when it showed Armia didn’t kick the puck in. Vegas challenged the call for goalie interference to no avail.

After several minutes of waiting around for the call, Vegas seized on the slowed momentum and quickly responded. The Knights had possession in the offensive zone during a delayed penalty for Winnipeg and Brayden McNabb scored to give the Knights some life.

The second period started at a much calmer speed, but midway through Scheifele revitalized the crowd on the power play with a deflection on a Byfuglien shot. The Knights tallied a power-play goal of their own to close out the period when William Karlsson tapped in a shot from Jonathan Marchessault.

“They came out flying here in the first, which we knew they were going to,” Vegas defenseman Deryk Engelland said following the game. “We got down and couldn’t get back into it.”

Winnipeg had a 26-21 shot advantage for the night, but the Knights had an additional 22 shots that were blocked.

WPG leads series 1-0 Full Recap | Box Score


Scheifele set up the first goal of the night with style when he skated up ice all silky smooth and dropped the puck off for Byfuglien to step up and slap silly. Typical Buff.

And in a game that started with speed, there were naturally a lot of bodies flying around, most notably when Ryan Reaves launched Blake Wheeler into the Vegas bench.


1. Mark Scheifele, WPG — Scheifele set up the first goal for the Jets and scored their fourth one on a deflection, and was basically in the right spot all night long. He now has 12 goals in 13 playoff games this postseason.

2. Dustin Byfuglien, WPG — Big Buff had the first goal and an assist on the night, but also dominated physically. Alex Tuch attempted a hit on Byfuglien, but the Jets defenseman was having none of that.

3. Jonathan Marchessault, VGK — Marchessault had the primary assists on both of Vegas’ goals. Although he had only one shot on goal, Marchessault had four shot attempts blocked and continues to be an offensive leader for the Knights.


Alex Ovechkin & Co. hadn’t experienced the Eastern Conference final before Friday, but they looked like vets of the series in the Capitals’ Game 1 win over the Lightning. Tampa Bay found itself in this exact situation last series after a 6-2 loss at home to the Bruins in Game 1, from which it bounced back with four straight wins. The Lightning will want to stay composed and out of the box in Game 2 seeing as Washington cashed in on its first two opportunities with the man advantage on Friday. Tampa will also need to find a way to better support goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, who allowed four goals on 25 shots. “…We gave them chance after chance after chance. Superman has kryptonite, too,” Tampa coach Jon Cooper said. “We can’t depend on (Vasilevskiy) to stop the barrage of chances he was getting.”

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