The script was flipped in game two of the Western Final as Vegas got off to a hot start and led after the first period. The game began with multiple chances by both teams but the goalies stood tall early on. Later in the period Vegas struck as Tatar grabbed his own rebound off the side of the net and wrapped it around the post before Hellebuyck could get back into position. Once Vegas had the lead they began to play more conservative and did not take many chances. The Jets had a tough time getting quality shots as the game wore on because the Golden Knights were backchecking hard to protect the lead. The Jets began a come back in the third, but it was short lived as they allowed Vegas to re-open their two goal lead just over a minute later. The Jets couldn’t seem to get anything going as the puck kept hopping over their sticks and they were continually a a step slow to loose pucks. Here are the thumbs up, thumbs down for game two.
Thumbs up to Fleury. The Jets were pressing hard in the first five minutes of the game and had multiple scoring chances. Fleury looked sharp in the net and stopped everything that came his way. Determined to have a better start than game one, Fleury weathered the early storm and gave his team a chance to take the lead later in the period. While Fleury also played well during the rest of the game, it was the start that really mattered in this one.
Thumbs down to turnovers. It is not surprising that turnovers continued to plague the Jets in game two. This has been an issue in every single round of the playoffs as they lose a lot of puck battles in their own end. The first goal from Vegas came from a few turnovers in their own end as Laine failed to clear the zone early in the shift and Stastny had the puck stolen shortly after. The Jets need to clean up their own zone if they want to stay competitive in this series because Vegas thrives off creating turnovers and counter attacking.
Thumbs up to Blake Wheeler. It was a tough night for the Jets as they seemed a little out of sync for most of the game. Simple passes were missed, and the puck kept bouncing without settling down. Some of these things are out of the Jets control, but one thing they do control is their effort. Wheeler continually gives his best effort every single game. When the Jets needed a spark, it was Wheeler who beat out an icing call with his speed. These types of plays are what make Wheeler so valuable because it shows everyone else that he will do anything to make a difference in the game. The Jets are fortunate to have a captain that is not only extremely skilled, but also gives maximum effort every single night.
Thumbs up and down to Kyle Connor. Connor deserves a thumbs up for actually scoring a goal when Fleury looked unbeatable. Nobody else was able to score all game, so good for Connor to at least get one. Connor also deserves a thumbs down for his play during the rest of the game. There were a handful of times that Connor caused an offside by making a bad read on an offensive entry. He over-stickhandled quite a few times in the offensive end and had a lot of turnovers in every zone. Although it was not his fault when his entire team went for a line change even though there were three players draped on him, he should have tried to just push the puck up the ice instead of turning around. It was a rough night for Connor, but at least he beat Fleury in the third period.
Thumbs down to Hellebuyck. Connor Hellebuyck got out-played by the goalie at the other end of the rink in game two. Hellebuyck can’t really be faulted for the goals as one was a breakaway and another was a two on one that Morrissey played poorly. Looking beyond the goals is where Hellebuyck didn’t look great. He was fighting the puck all game and had to rely on the Golden Knights hitting multiple posts to keep the puck out. He did not look like his normal steady self as he was over committing on passes and couldn’t seem to find the puck through screens. Hellebuyck was definitely not at the top of his game and it hurt the Jets in game two.