NHL playoffs 2018: Marchessault helps Golden Knights flip script, take Game 2 over Jets
The Golden Knights aren’t going down without a fight.
Jonathan Marchessault scored twice to help Vegas weather the Winnipeg whiteout and steal home-ice advantage in the Western Conference finals with a 3-1 victory over the Jets Monday at Bell MTS Place.
After falling behind early in Game 1, the Golden Knights flipped the script on the Jets in Game 2 by enduring an early onslaught (10 shots in the first nine minutes) and then making Winnipeg pay for not putting their territorial dominance to good use.
In his first appearance since Game 4 of the Sharks’ series, Tomas Tatar gave Vegas the 1-0 lead with a display of extra effort. Tatar skated in on Connor Hellebuyck and rang his initial shot off the post before gathering the rebound and tucking it behind the scrambling Jets goaltender.
Marchessault doubled the lead nearly four minutes later as the Golden Knights took advantage of the Jets’ sloppy play in the neutral zone. Reilly Smith halted a Winnipeg breakout attempt and played his teammate through on a breakaway, which Marchessault converted by putting the puck between Hellebuyck’s pads.
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It remained a 2-0 contest until Kyle Connor gave the Jets and their fans some life seven and half minutes into the third period. Connor beat Marc-Andre Fleury with a bad-angle shot on a Jets power play to send the Winnipeg whiteout into a frenzy.
With the crowd re-engaged and the Jets pushing for a second goal, Marchessault stepped up again for the Golden Knights. The 27-year-old took a nifty feed from Smith and beat Hellebuyck with a backhand shot to restore Vegas’ two-goal cushion. The goal, which came less than 90 seconds after Connor’s tally, proved to be a backbreaker for the Jets as they failed to ramp up the pressure on Fleury in the final 10 minutes.
After his worst outing of the postseason in Game 1, Fleury bounced back by stopping 30 of the 31 shots he faced as Vegas avoided losing back-to-back playoff games for the first time in franchise history.
The Golden Knights will look to keep the momentum going when the series shifts to Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena for Game 3 on Wednesday night (9:00 p.m. ET).
Sporting News kept tabs on live updates and highlights throughout the game. See below to find out how it unfolded. (All times Eastern.)
MORE: Jets vs. Golden Knights series predictions, odds
Game 2 result: Golden Knights 3, Jets 1
Shots on goal: Jets 31, Golden Knights 28
10:45 p.m. — Fleury denies Laine on a slap shot, then Vegas ices the puck again with less than 10 seconds to play. The Golden Knights trap the ensuing faceoff in the corner and run out the clock to seal the win.
10:40 p.m. — Paul Stastny tries a jam atttempt from in close, but Fleury denies him and Carpenter clears the zone. The Jets come back with a couple attempts, but Vegas clears the puck twice more. The latter goes for icing with 22.7 seconds to go.
10:38 p.m. — Hellebuyck heads to the bench with just over two minutes left to play.
10:34 p.m. — The Jets are running out of time to tie this game up. They need two goals in the next four minutes or will face the prospect of heading to Vegas with the series tied 1-1.
10:26 p.m. — Another post for Vegas! That’s three on the night for the Golden Knights and four total coming on this end of the ice. Shea Theodore is the latest to see his shot stopped by the iron.
10:18 p.m. — GOAL! And Bell MTS Place is quiet once again. The Golden Knights counter on a 2-on-1 and Reilly Smith holds on to the puck just long enough to slide a pass beyond the reach of a sliding Morrissey to Jonathan Marchessault, who converts on the backhand for his second goal of the night. It’s 3-1 Vegas as the Knights respond 1:28 after Connor’s strike.
10:16 p.m. — GOAL! Kyle Connor cuts the Vegas lead in half. Marc-Andre Fleury will want that one back as the Golden Knights goaltender gets beat by a bad-angle shot. The Winnipeg crowd is back into it as we reach the 12-minute mark of the third.
10:13 p.m. — Another 2-on-1 for the Jets, but Perreault can’t connect with Tanev’s pass. Winnipeg keeps up the pressure and earns a power play as Sbisa is whistled for tripping.
10:11 p.m. — Good start to the period for Winnipeg. Scheifele and Wheeler enter the offensive zone on a 2-on-1 break, but Reilly Smith hustles back to bother Scheifele and Fleury deals with Wheeler’s effort.
10:09 p.m. — Ehlers fires a shot off the side of the net that some fans think went in, but to their disappointment Vegas clears and kills off the penalty.
10:06 p.m. — The puck is dropped and away we go in the third period. The Jets, who still trail 2-0, will start on the power play for 1:57.
Second Period: Golden Knights 2, Jets 0
Shots: Golden Knights 21, Jets 19
9:47 p.m. — The Jets will start the third period with a power play as Brayden McNabb is whistled for tripping Blake Wheeler with 2.7 seconds remaining in the second.
9:44 p.m. — Tomas Nosek tries a stuff attempt on Hellebuyck, but the Jets goaltender is equal to it. Less than two minutes remaining to play in the period.
9:37 p.m. — The referees are letting the two teams play as the physicality escalates. Tyler Myers gets away with a jab to the face of Vegas forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare that sends his helmet flying. Shortly after, Ben Chariot takes down Erik Haula as the Knights forward tried to cut to the net. We play on…
9:28 p.m. — Winnipeg is finally getting some more time in the offensive zone, but the Jets are struggling to get a lot of shots through on Fleury. The Golden Knights are doing a good job shutting down the shooting lanes, forcing Laine and others to hesitate with their attempts at goal. The Jets had 10 shots in the first nine minutes of play and have had five in 20+ minutes since.
9:19 p.m. — Post! This time it’s Marc-Andre Fleury that benefits from the frame of the goal as Jets forward Andrew Copp strikes the iron with a shot from in close. That’s three posts at this end of the ice in the first 26 minutes of play…
9:12 p.m. — Early power play opportunity for Vegas as Blake Wheeler is whistled for holding Nate Schmidt in the offensive zone. The Golden Knights retain possession for most of the two minutes and fire a few shots at Hellebuyck, but the Jets kill it off. Josh Morrissey limps to the bench after a big shot block, but the defenseman seems to be okay to continue.
9:10 p.m. — The puck is dropped for the start of the second period. The Golden Knights lead the Jets 2-0.
First Period: Golden Knights 2, Jets 0
Shots: Golden Knights 13, Jets 11
8:50 p.m. — Two posts for Vegas! The Golden Knights are dominating the play at the moment and nearly make it 3-0 late in the period. Erik Haula breaks in right off the faceoff following the Marchessault goal and beats Hellebuyck high on his glove side, but strikes the iron. 90 seconds later, Ryan Carpenter skates in and fizzes a shot that is also denied by the post.
8:48 p.m. — GOAL! Jonathan Marchessault doubles the Vegas lead. The Jets turn the puck over in the neutral zone and the Golden Knights take advantage. Reilly Smith breaks up the play and finds Marchessault, who skates in on a breakaway and beats Hellebuyck between the pads.
8:41 p.m. — GOAL! Just after the teams return to 5-on-5 play, the Golden Knights take the lead. Tomas Tatar, in his return to the lineup, fires a shot from in close off the post and quickly finds the rebound and tucks it into the net before a scrambling Connor Hellebuyck can recover.