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Reaves lifts Golden Knights to Stanley Cup Final

Winnipeg native scores tiebreaking goal against Jets in Game 5 win

by Scott Billeck / NHL.com Correspondent

WINNIPEG -- Vegas Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves couldn't have written a better script for himself. 

Reaves scored the tiebreaking goal in the second period to help Vegas advance to the Stanley Cup Final with a 2-1 win against the Winnipeg Jets in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final at Bell MTS Place on Sunday. 

The goal was his first for the Golden Knights since he was acquired in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Feb. 23.

 

[RELATED: Jets credit Golden Knights after season-ending lossHow Golden Knights reached 2018 Stanley Cup Final]

 

"It's been a while since I scored and helped the team on the scoresheet," said Reaves, who hadn't scored in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since Game 4 of the 2015 Western Conference First Round with the St. Louis Blues (23 games). "The points, for me, doesn't matter. If we're getting wins, that's enough for me. It was definitely special and glad I got that one in front of Winnipeg."

For Reaves, who was born in Winnipeg, hearing the boos from the crowd was his favorite part of the series.

"It's been fun," Reaves said. "It's been a little weird. I have a couple of cousins that came in Jets jerseys, a best friend that came in a white t-shirt, so they're going to hear about that after. But it was fun. My mom, my dad, my brothers, they watched the series. I'm glad I got to watch that in front of him." 

Video: VGK@WPG, Gm5: Reaves tips in point shot for lead

A healthy scratch for the first nine games of the playoffs, Reaves made his first appearance in Game 6 of the second round against the San Jose Sharks and played in all five games of the conference final. 

"Everybody on this team has something to prove," Reaves said. "We call ourselves 'The Golden Misfits' for a reason. We're doing a good job of proving everybody wrong."

On Saturday, Golden Knights forward David Perron said it would be nice for either Reaves or forward Cody Eakin, who was also born in Winnipeg, to score in their hometown. 

On Sunday, Reaves did exactly that. 

"I saw the deflection, saw [Reaves] celebrating, and on the bench, I'm like, 'Man, I called that yesterday, I can't believe it,'" Perron said. "To see a guy like [Reaves] step up at this moment, it's awesome. We knew it was going to be somebody, and I called it out yesterday."

Although Reaves' goal was celebrated on the bench as it happened, the team mocked him in the dressing room during the second intermission. 

"That's our group to a T," Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt said. "A guy gets a goal and comes back in the locker room and it is not kudos but he starts getting ripped on for how hard he was celebrating. There were so many that I couldn't really keep track." 

Regardless, the timing of the goal couldn't have been better. 

"Couldn't be happier for [Reaves]. He's been saving it for 3 1/2 months, at least that's what he keeps saying," Golden Knights forward Erik Haula said. "I'm really happy for him, happy for the team. I guess proud is a good word." 

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