It’s the Western Conference Final everyone saw coming right?
Maybe not exactly, but is maybe the most compelling we could get as hockey fans. Two remarkable stories: The expansion team that many wrote off after they drafted their squad, up against a relocated franchise that until a month ago had never won a single playoff game based in a city known for almost constant sports depression since the mid-80’s.
One of these two clubs is going to head to their first ever Stanley Cup Final.
When the puck drops on game one between the Knights and Jets, it’ll be just the fourth ever meeting between the two clubs. The first three of course took place in the regular season and they were mostly in favor of Vegas…
November 10, 2017
Winnipeg – 2
Vegas – 5
The Jets spent a few extra days in Vegas looking to get their touristy thing out of the way first before settling in to business, but it didn’t work and there was still hints of the famed “Vegas Flu” struck as Winnipeg had a sluggish, mistake filled game that saw them get off to a bad start and wasn’t able to make a game of it late.
“Simply put, the Jets were bad in this game. No doubt give the Golden Knights some credit as they play a fast game that forces opposing teams to make mistakes but it shouldn’t have been anything more than what a regular Jets club wouldn’t have been able to handle.
That said, the Jets we saw tonight were sluggish and handled the puck like a live grenade at the best of times. Connor Hellebuyck finally had an off night managing only 16 saves on 21 shots faced – the first two goals against are likely ones he should not be giving up at all. Overall though he lacked any help from his defense or the forwards who had all kinds of issues with zone entries.”
December 1, 2017
Vegas – 4
Winnipeg – 7
The Jets were starting to roll having earned points in eight of their last ten games played while Vegas had suffered two losses after having gone on a five game winning streak. Fans were starting to wonder if the good story that was Vegas was starting to fade, while the Jets with a win would put them on top of the Central Division for the first time in the season – a feat no one had expected earlier.
“For two periods, it felt a bit like the Winnipeg Jets toyed with their opponent tonight, the Vegas Golden Knights, but an outburst of goals in the third period helped the Jets to a 7-4 over the expansion Knights and helped the club leap-frog past the St. Louis Blues in the standings and into sole possession of first place in the Western Conference.”
February 1, 2018
Vegas – 3 (OT)
Winnipeg – 2
By the time the calendar flipped to February, there was little doubt Vegas was for real with their position on top of the Western Conference. the Jets weren’t doing to shabby themselves with wins in four of their last five games going into their last regular season meeting against the Golden Knights, but their first with Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury who had missed the previous two games against the Jets due to injuries.
“For the first half of the game I thought the Jets were doing a great job of out-Vegas’ing Vegas. Vegas has won a lot of games by being fast and tenacious on the fore-check and for the first part of the game that’s what the Jets were doing rather effectively.”