Marchessault, Fleury lead Knights over Jets as Vegas evens series 1-1

Golden Knights 3 Jets 1

WINNIPEG — Jonathan Marchessault scored twice and Marc-Andre Fleury made 30 saves as the Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Winnipeg Jets 3-1 on Monday night to even the Western Conference final 1-1.

Tomas Tatar also scored for the expansion Knights, while Reilly Smith added two assists.

Kyle Connor replied for the Jets, who got 25 saves from Connor Hellebuyck.

The series now shifts to Sin City for Game 3 on Wednesday and Game 4 on Friday.

Game 5 will be back in Winnipeg on Sunday afternoon.

Fleury, who has four shutouts in these playoffs, picked up the 71st post-season victory of his career to pull even with Jacques Plante for ninth on the all-time list.

The Jets beat the Knights 4-2 in Saturday’s series opener some 48 hours after disposing of the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Nashville Predators 5-1 on the road in Game 7 of a second-round matchup that never saw a team win two straight.

Winnipeg came out fast with three goals in the first eight minutes at a thunderous Bell MTS Place in that one against Vegas, which had a five-day break following a six-game defeat of the San Jose Sharks.

After the Jets had a number of chances during an early push Monday — including a shot from Mark Scheifele that nearly squeaked through Fleury’s pads and a Nikolaj Ehlers shot off the post on the shortside — Winnipeg sagged a bit before Vegas opened the scoring with 6:37 left in the first period.

A healthy scratch for seven of the Knights’ 11 playoff games coming into Monday, Tatar scored his first of the post-season off a slick feed from Shea Theodore at the side of Winnipeg’s net. The veteran forward’s initial shot hit the post, but a great second effort saw him jam the puck past Hellebuyck on the follow up.

The visitors made it 2-0 with 2:38 left in the period when Connor turned the puck over in the neutral zone, leading to a breakaway for Marchessault, who made no mistake through Hellebuyck’s pads for his fifth.

Erik Haula nearly put the Knights up 3-0 seconds later, but he hit the post on another break before the puck bounced off Hellebuyck’s back and just went wide as Vegas outshot Winnipeg 8-0 in the second half of the period until Brandon Tanev’s 70-foot wrister with five seconds left.

The Jets got some momentum off a penalty kill early following the intermission, but couldn’t solve Fleury on any of their eight shots in a second that also saw Andrew Copp hit the post.

Winnipeg broke Fleury’s shutout bid at 7:17 of the final period on the Jets’ second power play of the period when Connor’s shot from the bottom of the left faceoff circle somehow leaked through Fleury for his third.

But Marchessault scored his second of the night and sixth of the playoffs just 1:28 later when he took a nice pass from Smith and beat Hellebuyck with a backhand to send the series to Vegas knotted at one.

The Jets finished with the second-best record in the NHL this season behind Nashville with 114 points, while the surprising Knights — a group of castoffs from the league’s other 30 teams — were fifth overall with 109.

Winnipeg is making the first appearance in a conference final in the city’s history. The old Jets, who left town in 1996, were swept in both of their trips to the second round, while the new incarnation, which moved from Atlanta in 2011, lost in four straight to the Anaheim Ducks to open the 2015 playoffs.

Notes: Game 6, if necessary, will be May 22 in Vegas, while a potential Game 7 would go May 24 in Winnipeg.

Just Posted

Central Alberta school districts are graded on their no-smoking policies

ASH wants them to tighten restrictions on tobacco, vaping, as well as cannabis

Free film shown in Red Deer Thursday to celebrate Recovery Day

A free film will be shown in Red Deer on Thursday about… Continue reading

Alberta Environment approvals taking too long: Red Deer County

Projects to fix a culvert can take two years to get the green light

Runningbird, Wanner disappearances remain among Red Deer’s unsolved cases

The two indigenous women haven’t been seen in decades

Cannabis retailers have sights on Gasoline Alley

Red Deer County approves two development permit applications for cannabis retailers

WATCH: Red Deer students take part in annual run

Dawe/St. Pat’s Run reaches 40th anniversary

Hushing my buzz: Alberta finance minister says cannabis warehouse will be secret

EDMONTON — Alberta is starting to stockpile marijuana but isn’t saying where… Continue reading

Relatives mourn death of Calgary-area woman killed by pet dog protecting child

CALGARY — Relatives of a Calgary-area woman killed by her own pet… Continue reading

Florence death toll climbs to 37; Trump visits stricken area

WILMINGTON, N.C. — The death toll from Hurricane Florence climbed to at… Continue reading

Toronto election proceeding with 25 wards after court sides with province

TORONTO — Ontario’s top court has sided with the provincial government in… Continue reading

Scheer welcomes former Liberal MP Alleslev to Conservative caucus

OTTAWA — Andrew Scheer is trying to fire up his Conservative troops… Continue reading

Trudeau says Canada wants to see ‘movement’ before signing revised NAFTA deal

WASHINGTON — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signalled today that Canada wants more… Continue reading

Uber driver suing Bucs’ QB Winston over groping incident

PHOENIX — A female Uber driver in Arizona is suing Tampa Bay… Continue reading

Thousands of fans request grand jury probe of Prince’s death

MINNEAPOLIS — Thousands of Prince fans are asking federal authorities to open… Continue reading

Most Read