The Vegas Golden Knights found a way to tie the series against the Winnipeg Jets with a 3-1 victory in Manitoba. Which team prevails as the series heads back to Sin City?
The Vegas Golden Knights blindly went into the series against the Winnipeg Jets without a way to prevent the pace of the attack. Of course, time had a part to play in the opening tie as the Jets were just days removed from their second-round series win against the Nashville Predators.
Yet, Vegas were rather quick to find a counter against the one-and-done attack of the Jets the other night, which was simply to do it right back at them.
A serious portion of the Vegas rush started right within the neutral zone. The Knights would speed right in, take a shot or two, and get ready to defend. Winnipeg pretty much has been doing the same, which speaks volumes to the importance of velocity so far in the series.
Quick attacking play was very limited for the Jets in Game 2 because of turnovers. The two crucial goals that came from the Golden Knights resulted from giveaways by Paul Stastny and Kyle Connor.
Turnovers made the transition very easy for the Knights as they already were close to goal. There wasn’t a need to start from the back to create high quality chances since they were winning a heavy portion of the puck battles.
Winnipeg was figured out, but with some emergence from players such as Patrik Laine, the Jets can take the third game on the road.
Laine was rather silent the other night. The Fin produced some shots here and there, but the 40 goal scorer was locked down by the Knights. It leaves the scoring up to the rest of the squad, which isn’t a bad thing.
However, if Laine can find the back of the net on a regular basis in this series, it will likely be all but over for Vegas.
Limit the turnovers and find better ways to move the puck through the middle of the ice. Winnipeg really has little-to-no problems finishing or creating chances in the attacking zone, but how they get there, which was especially shown in Game 2, looks to be an issue.
Vegas should repeat the performance from the second game. Being pesky all over the ice has really been a silent key to their brilliance in the playoffs. The team just doesn’t let up at any point throughout the 60 minutes, and there’s no reason why that should stop.
Clog the neutral zone and rush the defensemen in Winnipeg’s end. Maybe this leads to a man advantage or two, which is an area that Vegas can completely change the momentum of a contest.
The final key which could see the Golden Knights take a series lead in Game 3 is the obvious play from Marc-Andre Fleury. The chants from the fans of Winnipeg weren’t fazing Flower, as the 33-year-old had a .968 save percentage on 31 shots against.
Any chance of shutting down pace and momentum of the Jets will likely win the game for the Knights in Game 3. Combine that with the fact that they are at home for the first time in franchise history playing in a Conference Final, and it will be a brilliant atmosphere for the team in gold coming home.
Winnipeg have a tough job to do over the next couple of games. Not saying they can’t do it, but they have to find a way to swing a lot of numbers back over to their side.
Score Prediction: Vegas 4, Jets 2
Thoughts on the predictions? Anything you agree or disagree with? Who really wins in Game 3, and which player shines from either team? Let us know in the comments section below!