Marchessault’s Two Goals help Vegas take Game 2
Two goals from Jonathan Marchessault helped the Vegas Golden Knights even the Western Conference Final on Monday night. The Golden Knights won Game 2 3-1 over the Winnipeg Jets in Winnipeg to head back to the desert with the series tied at 1-1.
Vegas has done a great job all season long of proving people wrong and bouncing back from adversity. In Game 1, the Jets dominated a lot of the game en route to a 4-2 win. There was thought that the Knights had finally met the team that would overpower them. Vegas, though, rebounded in a very solid way.
The game started with both teams going back and forth. The teams would combine for 24 shots on goal in the opening 20 minutes. But it would be the Golden Knights who would capitalize on a couple of chances.
With 6:37 left in the first, Tomas Tatar scored his first goal of the postseason to give the visitors a 1-0 advantage. It was Tatar’s first action in three games after being a healthy scratch. He replaced David Perron in the lineup, who was held out of the game because he “was not feeling well,” according to head coach Gerard Gallant.
Four minutes after going up 1-0, Vegas doubled their lead. A turnover in the neutral zone and a bad line change by the Jets gave Marchessault a breakaway from Winnipeg’s blue line in. A sweet little deke allowed him to go five-hole on Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck to score his fifth of the playoffs.
Vegas would head to the first intermission with a 2-0 lead.
Things seemed to get a bit more defensive in the second. Each team would only get eight shots on goal and the Knights were able to keep their 2-0 advantage going into the third.
WINNIPEG MAKES PUSH IN THIRD
Down by two goals, the Jets were expected to make a push in the third period and they did.
Rookie Kyle Connor got the home team back in it 7:17 into the final frame. His sharp angle shot squeaked in through Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury to cut the Knights’ lead in half. It was Connor’s third goal of the postseason. The goal was also Winnipeg’s third power-play goal in seven opportunities so far in the series.
At this point, it felt like the momentum had swung completely in the Jets’ favor. However, Marchessault made sure to quell that very quickly.
Just 1:28 after Connor’s goal, Marchessault scored his second of the game to restore Vegas’ two-goal advantage.
A quick pass in the neutral zone gave the Knights a 2-on-1 into the Winnipeg zone. Reilly Smith hesitated just enough to go around a diving Jets defender. Smith then found Marchessault on the back post, who went forehand-backhand to beat a sliding Hellebuyck and seal Vegas’ 3-1 victory.
The win helped the Knights improve to 9-3 this playoff season. It was also a historic win for Fleury.
The 33-year-old’s 30-save performance tied him for 9th all-time in playoff wins by a goalie. His 71 wins matched those of legendary netminder Jacques Plante.
For Winnipeg, it was the team’s third loss in the last four home games. This comes after a run of not losing at home since mid-February.
The series will now shift to Las Vegas for Game 3 on Wednesday night (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVAS, SN).