Jets head to Vegas tied 1-1 with Knights

Vegas Golden Knights prove they belong here with Game 2 win

Marchessault leads Knights to even series

It just wasn't their Knight.

Golden Knights center Jonathan Marchessault has been a revelation for the expansion squad this season, scoring 27 goals and dishing out 48 assists in 77 regular season games.

Golden Knights fan Karlotta Sanchez, middle, cheers at a watch party at Red Rock Casino after Golden Knights right wing Alex Tuch scored a first period goal during Vegas' game two NHL Western Conference Finals road matchup with the Winnipeg Jets on Monday, May 14, 2018, in Las Vegas. Each won once fairly convincingly in Winnipeg, with Vegas winning 3-1 in Game 2 on Monday night. "When you are able to play with the lead, I think that makes a huge difference".

The Jets were clumsy and careless, left scrambling far too many times after coughing up the puck or giving it away to Vegas on a sloppy pass or clearing attempt. And while the Jets had chances early - a backhand from Mark Scheifele trickled through and was barely kept out by Marc-Andre Fleury and a Nikolaj Ehlers backhand clanked iron - Tomas Tatar's goal to put Vegas ahead and Marchessault's subsequent insurance markers allowed the Golden Knights to settle into the game.

"It's upsetting. It wasn't their night", said fan John Capstick, who initially didn't even want to talk about the loss.

"We were good in the D zone and we played well. That's what it was all night".

In Game 2, Washington scored in the first minute of the game with Tom Wilson getting a deflection goal, but a pair of opportune goals by the Lightning on the power play gave them a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes. To that point nor was Vegas like the team in game one either. Because whatever they said on Monday didn't bring Fleury down.

Then their engines sputtered while Vegas cranked it up. He got it back behind the net and wrapped around the goal on Connor Hellebuyck's glove side.

It took Winnipeg another 31 minutes - the remainder of the first and the entire second period - to notch just nine more shots. After Winnipeg cut the margin to 2-1 in the third period, Vegas responded with a goal of its own 90 seconds later and played rope-a-dope the rest of the way.

"That's the reason why we love him", said Vegas defenseman Nate Schmidt of Marchessault's performance.

"Every time we need a big effort out of our group, we show up", Marchessault said.

"That third goal, it was a bad play by [Josh] Morrissey, yeah". You're not just good at home, you're good no matter where you go and it doesn't matter where you go.

Then Marchessault got it going.

The Jets' defender dove to poke check the Knights' Reilly Smith who was on a rush with Marchessault. We've been used to great atmosphere's the last couple of series. That never happens. They've got a great team and they've had a great year, so no one is going to bow down or win easily.

Are people getting exhausted of the whiteout street party?

"It just shows the resiliency of these good teams".

That follows a crowd of 15,000 at Saturday's party, when the organizers were expecting the biggest yet. They went 1-1 in the first round against the Minnesota Wild, then an impressive 3-1 in the second-round victory over the Nashville Predators. That prompted organizers to try controlling attendance at 27,000 by issuing first-come, first-served free tickets.

The Jets are 4-2 on the road during these National Hockey League playoffs, winning once in Minnesota in the opening round against the Wild. The Golden Knights have been a solid offensive team this year, but that offense hasn't really shown up in the postseason and I will look for Connor Hellebuyck to keep it that way. After clinching that series by winning Games 5 and 6, they have built a four-game winning streak.

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