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Golden Knights fired up for homecoming in Game 3 against Jets

Engelland says Vegas ready to feed off crowd energy in Western Final

by Nicholas J. Cotsonika @cotsonika / Columnist

LAS VEGAS -- The Vegas Golden Knights will experience another first in their record-breaking inaugural season Wednesday.

They will play their first home game in the Western Conference Final when they host the Winnipeg Jets in Game 3 at T-Mobile Arena (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).

They are 4-1 at home in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, outscoring their opponents 18-8.


[RELATED: Complete Jets vs. Golden Knights series coverage]


"It's going to be a great atmosphere, like all the other games at home," defenseman Deryk Engelland said. "It's going to be a lot of fun, and we've got to feed off that energy."

The best-of-7 series is tied 1-1 after the Golden Knights defeated the Jets 3-1 at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg on Monday, rebounding from a 4-2 loss in Game 1 there on Saturday.

"Obviously they're a great team," goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said. "They have speed, a lot of skills. It's going to be tough. It's going to be long, I think. But I think we showed [in Game 2] to ourselves and to everybody else that when we play the way we can and we want, I think we'll be in good shape."

In Game 1, the Golden Knights fell behind 3-0 in the first 7:35. They felt they played better in the second and third periods but were chasing the game.

Video: Nick Cotsonika and Jon Morosi on Vegas' new fanbase

In Game 2, they took a 2-0 lead in the first period and were more assertive all over the ice. Forward Jonathan Marchessault, who scored twice, said they didn't spend too much time in the defensive zone, got in on the forecheck and put pressure on the Jets defense. They created scoring chances by forcing turnovers.

"I thought we were quicker and we were faster and we were more competitive, and when you do that, you limit the other team's time and space," coach Gerard Gallant said. "When any team at this level has a chance to make plays with time, they're going to make the right plays. If you're putting pressure on them, everybody's going to make mistakes in games. That's what happens. So I thought we had a lot more pressure."

The Golden Knights held an optional practice Tuesday. Forward James Neal was the only regular to skate with goaltender Maxime Lagace, forward Oscar Lindberg and defensemen Brad Hunt and Jon Merrill, none of whom dressed in Game 2.
Forward David Perron, who did not play in Game 2, still doesn't feel well and is day to day, Gallant said.

"Playing on your home ice is a big, big thing in the playoffs, I think," defenseman Colin Miller said. "We love playing at home in front of our crowd. I think [Game 2] was huge for our team to kind of establish ourselves and get ourselves going in the series. We're looking forward to the next game."


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