Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
IT&Software | By Alfonso Woods

Jets jump on Golden Knights early, open series with win

Jets jump on Golden Knights early, open series with win

During a stoppage in play in Saturday's 4-2 win by the Winnipeg Jets in Game 1 of the Western Conference final, the crowd inside Bell MTS Place serenaded Fleury with chants of "FLEU-RY, FLEU-RY" for several minutes.

The Jets were unsafe with many of their attacks, but how they played without the puck was just as important.

Patrik Laine and Joel Armia had goals 46 seconds apart to put the Jets up 3-0.

Yes, Marc-Andre Fleury heard those chants loud and clear. "He can shoot the puck a ton, he can make soft-hand plays, and he can be as big and strong as you want out there".

Winnipeg's Connor Hellebuyck made 18 saves.

Jonathan Marchessault recorded two assists for Vegas, which had five days off after beating the San Jose Sharks in six games in the second round, and now trails a series for the first time after also sweeping the Los Angles Kings.

"We're going to show what kind of team we are". "If we're ready for when the puck drops we'll be all right".

Vegas pushed a bit to open that second, but Scheifele stretched his lead atop the playoff goal race to 12 when he tipped Byfuglien's point shot on a power play at 9:54.

Byfuglien's goal at 1:05 of the first period was the fastest to begin a game by a franchise making its conference finals/semifinals debut since 1974-75. That ignited the party-like atmosphere in a relatively cozy arena with just 16,345 seats and a low ceiling. "Early in the game, too".

Fleury had no shot to stop Laine's one-timer from the left circle off Wheeler's cross-ice pass on a power play at the 6:49 mark of the first.

"I like to think they like me a lot", Fleury said on Sunday.

After the flurry of goals early, the Jets were able to play conservatively to cut down on Vegas' comeback chances. Winnipeg's ability to move the puck and free up Byfuglien at the blue line to unleash his powerful shot got the better of the conservative penalty-kill tactics that had been so successful during the first two rounds. "We weren't fooling around with it in the neutral zone".

Wheeler was then sent flying into the Vegas bench by Knights tough guy Ryan Reaves on a clean hit that saw the Winnipeg captain's skates flailing in the air as he struggled to get back into the action.

NOTES: The last time two teams were in the National Hockey League conference finals for the first time was 2003 when Anaheim swept Minnesota. He now leads all players with 12 goals this postseason.

Scheifele has eight multi-point games and three in his past four.

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