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Golden Knights prove they belong, tie series

Forward Blake Wheeler left has been one of the Winnipeg Jets’ key players during this Stanley Cup run

"We didn't do anything clean, we didn't do anything quickly", Jets head coach Paul Maurice said. He would be a wealthier man if he went to, well, Vegas to play his hunch like Pete Rose. "That part, I think, was true of the whole game, and we want to be better there".

"We knew they were going to come out faster; I don't think anybody in here minded our start", defenseman Jacob Trouba said. "Every time when you get a big game for our group, we show up".

After going 3-for-4 in last round's prediction, it's time to predict who will get to the finals and eventually win it all.

Yet, prepare as they may, there was little magic the Jets had up their sleeve to solve it.

After the Washington Capitals annihilated the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first two games of the Eastern Conference final, the Winnipeg Jets have an opportunity to open up a 2-0 series advantage over the Vegas Golden Knights Monday.

"I thought we had really good teams (in Minnesota), so it was frustrating losing", Haula said.

They didn't handle it well.

The Golden Knights didn't get off to the best start but Marc-Andre Fleury was tremendous to start the game. After winning the first game in the third round of the Stanley Cup playoffs on Saturday, they dropped Game 2 to the Golden Knights 3-1 at Bell MTS Place.

But just 1:28 later, the Golden Knights took advantage of another Winnipeg mistake. What change they make will be interesting to see as the Jets will likely be prepared to counter.

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The lesson is, continue to bet against the Knights at your own peril. Tuch proved his worth with 15 goals and 22 assists, and it has been hard for Wild fans to watch both elevate their play in the playoffs: Haula has three goals and three assists, Tuch four goals and three assists, and each has a game-winning goal.

The Jets were mistake-prone and they were unable to unleash their warp speed due to poor puck movement, but the Golden Knights also deserve plenty of credit.

"The story of Winnipeg and the Jets, for far too long, has been about being underdogs and underrated", Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman said. There's going to be moments in this series where they get scoring chances.

That isn't a recipe for success. A strong chance off the rush from Patrik Laine four minutes into the period found Fleury's pad. "The one that cost us I think is that we pushed too early, got out of our routes too early".

The Jets were 1-3 on the power play while the Golden Knights were scoreless in two attempts.

Still, that overall idea of puck possession is what left Jets captain Blake Wheeler feeling upbeat. Winnipeg is -140 on the money line for this 2018 National Hockey League playoffs game, meaning you would need to risk $140 to win $100, while Vegas is +120 (risk $100 to win $120). William Karlsson had the other assist to restore the Knights' two goal lead as they hung on for a 3-1 win. The puck went off Armia's skate and was ruled heading into the net before he bumped into Fleury. "It's just a matter of how you react to it".

The Jets earned 114 points during the regular season, trailing only Nashville. "What a luxury to be able to put Tomas Tatar into a game in the playoffs, " Schmidt said. The Maple Leafs accomplished the feat against the Red Wings in 1945 to capture the Stanley Cup.

The Jets haven't done anything the easy way this season, so the fact they're now tied 1-1 in the Western Conference final should be a surprise to nobody. "We like where it was in the Nashville series".

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