Golden Knights in Prime Shape to Shine in Western Conference Finals
The Winnipeg Jets and the Vegas Golden Knights will battle in game 4 of the Western Conference Finals series on Friday. The Golden Knights have really taken the NHL and the hockey nation by storm with their success this year.
Oddsmakers opened the Jets as -107-moneyline favorites versus the Golden Knights, while the game’s total opened at 5..5. Vegas is now -115-moneyline favorites. The total is still at 5.5.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, CBC, Sportsnet One, TVA
Since 1973 the team that has captured a 2-1 lead in the semifinal has gone on to take the series 87.5 percent of the time. That team has won 35 of 43 matchups. After Wednesday night’s 4-2 victory, that puts the Golden Knights in the drivers seat. The team that takes a 3-1 lead goes on to win more than 90 percent of the time.
The intensity ramped up in game 3 as the two teams combined for 89 hits and 40 penalty minutes.
Jets Need More Help Against Golden Knights
If the Jets have any chance of pulling this series out, they’re going to need some scoring from somebody other than Mark Scheifele. The Center has scored 14 of his team’s 50 goals so far in the playoffs. This is at a 28 percent clip. He scored both goals on Wednesday.
Patrik Laine, Bryan Little, Mathieu Perreault and Adam Lowry have been a shadow of what they were in the regular season. Laine had 44 goals this year. He has only four in the postseason and has hit a half-dozen posts.
Ehlers had 29 goals this year and has yet to notch one in 13 games. He was a mysterious scratch on Wednesday night.
Little has one goal in 15 playoff games. He produced 16 this season. Perreault has just a single point and Lowry hasn’t scored since December.
Fleury Has Been the Rock for the Golden Knights
Marc-Andre Fleury has been the star for Vegas this year. In addition to 33 saves on Wednesday, he also took part in a scrum in his crease. The three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Pittsburgh Penguins has a 10-3 record. He has a .945 save percentage in the playoffs.
Jonathan Marchessault has 17 points, with eight goals, in the playoffs. Linemates William Karlsson and Reilly Smith continue to give the jets defense all kinds of trouble. Playoff veteran James Neal finished with a goal and an assist in game 3. He ending the night plus-3 and leading the Golden Knights with five shots on goal.
Fleury made a handful of highlight-worthy saves with Vegas nursing a one-goal lead in the final period. He got plenty of help as the Golden Knights finished with 18 blocked shots and 18 takeaways.
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Winnipeg home to Vegas Sunday, May 20
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