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Blake Wheeler: Drops three apples on Vegas in Game 1

Blake Wheeler: Drops three apples on Vegas in Game 1

Playing their first-ever game in the Western Conference final Saturday night at Bell MTS Place, the Winnipeg Jets rode a whatever-it-takes mentality to a 4-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights.

Patrik Laine and Joel Armia also scored for the Jets, who eliminated the 117-point Nashville Predators in their second-round matchup with Thursday's dominant 5-1 road victory. Byfuglien also added an assist on Mark Scheifele's power-play goal in the second frame.

Brayden McNabb scored mid way through the very first and William Karlsson late at the second period to pull on Vegas over two weeks, however, the expansion team could not get closer.

Marc-Andre Fleury made some hard saves in Game 1, but the Jets ultimately got to him, especially early on.

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 22 shots for the Golden Knights, whose Stanley Cup-winning goalie has given up at least three goals for the fifth time in six games.

The Jets will look to take a 2-0 series lead on home ice on Monday night. May.

"Next game, no excuses", Golden Knights center Jonathan Marchessault said.

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"You saw the Dustin Byfuglien spectrum", Winnipeg's Paul Maurice said.

White-clad, towel-twirling raucous fans in the arena - and packed on surrounding streets - were fired up before the game started. That ignited the party-like atmosphere in a relatively cozy arena with just 16,345 seats and a low ceiling. Five minutes later, Patrik Laine was the recipient of a great Blake Wheeler pass for a power play goal to make it 2-0. Armia had a goal waved off less than a minute later only to have it restored by a challenge, which overturned the goaltender interference call on the ice.

You don't get to the third round of the National Hockey League playoffs without making a few sacrifices and when you arrive there, you have to take that commitment to another level.

"We were getting the puck deep", Scheifele said.

Fleury will need to bounce back, and the Golden Knights must put more pressure on Connor Hellebuyck.

Jacob Trouba and Josh Morrissey had four blocks apiece and 10 players recorded at least one block as the Golden Knights directed 57 shot attempts toward the Jets net but got only the 21 through to Hellebuyck.

"You've got to be dedicated to those little things", said Wheeler, whose team is in a conference final for the first time in the city's history.


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