I was playing some PlayStation just before the game and I was saying to a friend “I don’t know if I should play at all anymore, Vegas likes to start early.”
I wasn’t wrong. The pressure from Vegas started early and they had many Jets turnovers to take advantage of, which they did. About 5 minutes in, Hellebuyck swings the puck up the boards and it looks like it hits the glass or the referee and bounces out to Alex Tuch who snipes one for the 1-0 lead.
For the first 9-10 minutes this game was all Vegas, all the time. Winnipegs passes didn’t look good, their puck control was almost absent, and like I said, turnovers were costing them offensive zone time – because they didn’t get there. I don’t know what Paul Maurice said but the rest of the period belonged tot the Jets.
With just less than three minutes left, Bryan Little wins the draw back towards Morrissey (Roslovic almost stood the puck before it gets back) and the point man fires one over the elbow of Fleury, top corner. 1-1 game.
It seems in every other game when Winnipeg gets close, Vegas scores a quick reply, but the Jets keep them in check and we hit the break in a tie.
The second period was nothing less than what you’d expect, high paced with big saves. With about 7 minutes left, Hellebuyck stops a shot with his bucket and it breaks the strap off. Instead of allowing time to get his mask repaired, he is forced to go to his backup mask. Less than a minute later, Ryan Reaves tips a point shot from Sbisa over Hellebuyck. 2-1 Vegas lead. Armia probably could have done a better job covering Sbisa. Hellebuyck immediately looks to the bench and gets his repaired mask.
We head into the break at that, and there is a quite remarkable interview of goal scorer Ryan Reaves. Reaves grew up with Scott Oakes son, and when asked “how many friends and family do you have here?” Reaves responded with “I’m cutting my family off they’re wearing too many Jets jerseys when I’m around, so my mom and my dad and a couple buddies, that’s it. I’m gunna have to talk to them about that. And your son, too, Scotty, I’m going to have to talk to him” and proceeds to rub Scott Oakes head. Full video here.
Lots of Jets pressure in the third, and with 1:21 left Hellebuyck goes to the bench. The next 35 seconds, the Jets didn’t even have the puck. And that’s about how the game and their season would end.
In their inaugural season, the Vegas Golden Knights will play in the Stanley Cup finals.
– Bob Zagozewski
PS. Engelland both touched and carried the Clarence Campbell trophy after the game. Not sure I would have done it but, Vegas is different. They have no history, they have no reason for superstition.