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game recap

Jets start fast, defeat Golden Knights in Game 1

Score three goals in opening 7:35 of first period; Scheifele has goal, assist

by Scott Billeck / NHL.com Correspondent

WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Jets scored three goals in the first 7:35 in a 4-2 win against the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final at Bell MTS Place on Saturday.

Dustin Byfuglien and Mark Scheifele each had a goal and an assist, Blake Wheeler had three assists, and Connor Hellebuyck made 19 saves for Winnipeg, which advanced with a Game 7 win against the Nashville Predators to end the second round Thursday.

 

[WATCH: All Golden Knights vs. Jets highlights | Complete Jets vs. Golden Knights series coverage]

 

"We didn't have much of a rest, we're still in game mode," Byfuglien said. "It was just a matter of coming out, playing our game, keeping it simple. We got in moving our feet right away, ice opened up, so we got to move the puck easily, just do simple things."

Brayden McNabb and William Karlsson scored, and Marc-Andre Fleury made 22 saves for Vegas, which last played Sunday, when it eliminated the San Jose Sharks.

"Not the start we wanted, and they just played two days ago, but they were game ready and we weren't," Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault said. "We're going to see what kind of team we are. (Monday) is definitely a must-win game."

Game 2 of the best-of-7 series is here Monday.

Byfuglien gave the Jets a 1-0 lead 1:05 into the first period, scoring on a slap shot from the point after receiving a drop pass from Scheifele.

Video: VGK@WPG, Gm1: Byfuglien gives Jets an early lead

"It's obviously huge to get the first goal," Jets forward Patrik Laine said. "I think it's just everybody maybe feels a little bit looser on the ice. It's hard to say. For me, it gives me confidence a lot, because we're in the lead and it's easier to play."

Laine made it 2-0 at 6:49, scoring a power-play goal on a one-timer off a cross-ice pass from Wheeler.

Joel Armia extended the lead to 3-0 at 7:35 after Ben Chiarot's backhand pass deflected in off his skate. Initially ruled no goal because of goaltender interference, Jets coach Paul Maurice challenged the play and the call was reversed after a video review.

McNabb scored 35 seconds later on a wrist shot that deflected off Kyle Connor's stick under Hellebuyck's glove to make it 3-1.

Video: VGK@WPG, Gm1: McNabb scores on delayed penalty

"They came out hard like we expected," Fleury said. "We made our way back throughout the game. I thought we stuck with it, though. Nobody panicked and played great second and third (periods)."

Scheifele scored his NHL-leading 12th goal of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at 9:54 at of the second period to make it 4-1, redirecting Byfuglien's shot from the point on the power play.

Karlsson cut it to 4-2 at 15:55 on the power play, redirecting a pass from Marchessault in front of the crease.

"They don't give up a lot," Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland said. "We've got to fight for ice and get more pucks to the net." 

 

Goal of the game

Armia's goal at 7:35 of the first period. 

Video: VGK@WPG, Gm1: Armia has puck deflect in off his skate

 

Save of the game

Hellebuyck's save on Engelland at 16:36 of the second period.

Video: VGK@WPG, Gm1: Hellebuyck flashes the leather for save

 

Highlight of the game

Laine's goal at 6:49 of the first period. 

Video: VGK@WPG, Gm1: Wheeler sets up Laine for PPG

 

They said it

"We were chasing the game all night. They played a real good game. They played a great defensive game. They created offense when they had to and they had a great power play. That was the difference in the hockey game. And they had a great start. We just didn't get enough to the net." -- Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant

 

"We've lost games, and in those losses, we've won the next one. So we were able to maintain the identity. Had we lost here, it would have been an every second game continuation from the last round. What we've done reasonably well is leave the game where it was played, whether it was a win or loss, and moved right on to the next. We've been able to maintain our identity after losses, as well." -- Jets coach Paul Maurice

 

Need to know

Scheifele has eight multipoint games in the playoffs, which trails only Wayne Gretzky (nine in 1988) for most in NHL history by a player in his team's first 13 games of the postseason in the past 30 years. … Byfuglien's goal was the fastest to begin a game by a franchise making its conference final/semifinals debut (since 1974-75). He leads NHL defensemen with five multipoint games in the playoffs.

 

What's next

Game 2 of Western Conference Final on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS)

 

Video: Jets ride fast start to 4-2 win in Game 1

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