Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Sports | By Ivan Ross

Marchessault scores twice, Golden Knights top Jets

Marchessault scores twice, Golden Knights top Jets

The Winnipeg Jets huffed and puffed but couldn't blow the equalizer past Vegas Golden Knights fantastic netminder Marc-André Fleury.

At the biggest moment in the Vegas Golden Knights' fantastic first season, the goaltender robbed the National Hockey League playoffs' hottest man, Winnipeg Jets' sniper Mark Scheifele, with a pair of awesome saves halfway through the third period as his team won 4-2 Wednesday to move within two victories of the Stanley Cup Final.

The Knights again responded with a momentum-stealing goal, scoring just 12 seconds later en route to a 4-2 win in Game 3 Wednesday night and a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference Final. Marc-Andre Fleury has given up 24 goals on 436 shots faced. Scheifele turned it over inside the Golden Knights blue line on Marchessault's goal 35 seconds into the game.

But take a step back and ponder the idea that perhaps the Vegas Golden Knights are indeed the poster child for a league where the salary cap era has created its greatest ever parity and a wide-open chase for the most famous trophy in sports.

The Winnipeg Jets probably should have won game three, as they were aggressive on offense pretty much from start to finish, had quality look after quality look but the puck wouldn't go in. If Vegas wins it - still a big if at this point, but we're just playing with hypotheticals here - that would be his fourth. "We definitely can't take it for granted". The line's got to outplay the other line. Fleury picked up an assist on Jonathan Marchessault's empty-net goal and also appeared to tickle Wheeler's ear during a post-play scrum during the second period.

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Goalie Connor Hellebuyck kept the Jets in the game early on, and Winnipeg eventually tied it up on Mark Scheifele's deft deflection early in the second.

They began their inaugural year on October 6, 2017, a 2-1 win against the Dallas Stars. "We can't sulk on this too long".

With the conference final only three games in and another potential series remaining in Scheifele's season, he has a decent shot at the NHL's all-time record for goals in an entire playoffs.

Jets coach Paul Maurice said before the game that he wasn't anxious about Ehlers' postseason scoring drought. "We have some places that are going to lose seven figures". It would be rare that you lead the [playoffs] straight through. "We want to make sure we deal with our loss, don't carry it to heavily and then come out with our finest game of the postseason". Less than two minutes later, he smothered the puck with a slew of players piled near the crease.

Fleury's athleticism has been his calling card throughout his career, and it allows him (and sometimes even forces him) to make saves like those two. "He's a guy that has fun out there". The rebound came back to Scheifele, who had an open net to shoot at until Fleury lunged to stop him with his chest, keeping the Golden Knights ahead with 9:37 left.

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When asked about the stunt after the game, Fleury said he wasn't thinking and just felt like "having a smile" while everyone else traded shoves. "We definitely need to close that game better".

"We know that was [more like] our game", Scheifele said of the third period. Early January, around the All-Star game, I was a strong believer in our team. I don't know if we can play that third period any differently or ask for any more.

The Jets had scored a power play goal in 11 of the 13 playoff games in which they had a man advantage, but was 0 for 2 with a man advantage. Winnipeg hadn't lost back-to-back games during the playoffs. The last time it dropped consecutive games was a three-game losing streak (0-2-1) from March 10-13. "I just got a toe on it but it bounced right back in the slot".

Scheifele first tied and then set the record with his 11th goal on the road in the playoffs.

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