Before game two, everyone and their dog stated that the Golden Knights needed to be and would be much better than their game one effort and they sure were as they took advantage of Jets mistakes to get a lead and then locked things down to earn a 3-1 victory to even the series at 1-1.
- For the first ten minutes of the game or so, there was a frantic back and forth pace to the game that said the Jets had the early edge in shots (10-7), had more scoring chances in that first frame (6-2) and had a huge edge in high danger scoring chances (6-0) .. And then Jets mistakes started to happen and the Knights started to take advantage.
- That first Vegas goal by the way was a product of exactly what they need to do, hold the line in the offensive zone, get the Jets running around a bit, force turnovers – although the Jets did commit a few unforced errors as well – and then take advantage.
- Ditto that for the second goal. A turnover at center ice plus an awful line change equals a Jonathan Marchessault breakaway goal.
- The second period was better for the Jets in that they didn’t give up a goal and they actually had an edge in both scoring chances (9-4) and high danger scoring chances (4-1) but the Knights did a fantastic job of A: protecting the middle of the ice in front of Fleury and B: forcing the Jets to spend a lot of energy in 50-50 puck battles along the boards. they basically saw how the Nashville Predators played with a lead against the Jets and went: “Yeah, that’s a good idea”
- Take a look at the shot heat charts below and see how effective Vegas was at preventing anything in the middle of the ice while the Jets struggled to do just that.
- It felt like a lot of the night the Jets – when they did get a little room in the offensive end – tried to make one too many passing plays to get tap in goals, rather than just shooting away and testing Fleury as much as possible.
- Which of course makes a goal like the one Kyle Connor score even more frustrating. Yes MAF played the angle bad, yes it was a very hopeful shot on goal… But it was a shot on goal and the Jets didn’t take nearly as many as they could have in the game.
- Jacob Trouba and Josh Morrissey picked an awful time to break out their Mark Stuart impressions on the fourth goal from Vegas, but they were spot on impressions none the less. Trouba pinched when he shouldn’t have and the puck was chipped neatly by him. Morrissey slid onto all fours to try and prevent… Well I’m not sure really. Was he trying to stop a shot? Trying to stop a pass? Connor Hellebuyck didn’t help matters either on the goal.
- A lot of the Jets had an off night, Hellebuyck wasn’t any better. With a .893 save percentage, he looked like he was fighting the puck the entire night.
- Hey, no one said it would be an easy four game sweep did they?
CHARTS N STUFF
Stats & charts courtesy: Corsica.Hockey
Heat Map Chart courtesy: NaturalStatTrick.com
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
For Winnipeg: Kyle Connor – Very few bright spots for the Jets tonight, KC and his goal tonight may have been the only one.
For Vegas: Jonathan Marchessault – Great night for him as he had two goals in the game and could have had more with eight total shots in the game. He was credited with a single turnover in the game but it felt like he created a few of them.
The Golden Knights got their split on the road, home ice advantage in the series and now the series heads to the American Southwest as game three goes in Vegas on Wednesday night. Puck drop is 8:00 PM CST.