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5 Keys: Golden Knights at Jets, Game 5

Vegas one win from Stanley Cup Final; Winnipeg seeks elusive first goal

by Scott Billeck / Correspondent


3 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVAS, SN

Vegas leads best-of-7 series 3-1

WINNIPEG -- The Vegas Golden Knights will try to become the third NHL team to reach the Stanley Cup Final in its inaugural season when they play the Winnipeg Jets in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final at Bell MTS Place on Sunday.

The 1918 Toronto Arenas and 1968 St. Louis Blues each reached the Cup Final in their first season.


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


The Golden Knights won 3-2 in Game 4 at T-Mobile Arena on Friday.

Teams that have taken a 3-1 lead in the conference final/NHL Semifinal (since 1974-75) own an all-time series record of 41-1. The New Jersey Devils are the only team to win a conference final after trailing 3-1, defeating the Philadelphia Flyers in 2000.

Here are 5 keys for Game 5:


1. Fleury fantastic

Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury leads the NHL with 11 wins in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs and is 3-0 with a 1.67 goals-against average and a .951 save percentage during a three-game winning streak.

"I feel good," Fleury said. "Every game is different a bit. Obviously, my teammates are playing great in front of me too. They're helping me out around the net. Got some wins out of it. Yeah, it's been alright."

Video: Fleury protects the net for another win in Game 4


2. Score first

The Golden Knights and Jets each are 8-1 when scoring first in the playoffs. Vegas has scored first in the past three games.

"It's going to be really important, not only just to score the first, but just to have a good start," Jets forward Andrew Copp said. "We felt like we actually started OK last game, just kind of got in penalty trouble early. That can determine how it looks like you start."


3. One at a time

Winnipeg's ability to compartmentalize is going to be tested as it attempts to rally from down 3-1 in the series.

"That's all you really think about, is taking it one shift at a time," Jets defenseman Ben Chiarot said. "It's cliche, but that's how you have to take it. If you look at it big picture, we got to win three in a row, it seems like a big job. When you break it down into segments, it becomes easier. Win your next shift, next period, just keep going."


4. Stick with it

The Jets have 103 shots on goal during their three-game losing streak and have 30 or more shots in each of those games.

Video: WPG@VGK, Gm4: Laine rips home power-play goal

"I think we just need to continue doing what we're doing," Winnipeg forward Adam Lowry said. "I think it will start to come for us."

The Jets have not lost four straight this season.


5. Rebound quickly 

Vegas has scored within 1:28 of a Winnipeg goal four times in the series, including 43 seconds after the Jets tied Game 4 1-1 in the second period.

"I feel like we have a short-term memory," Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore said. "A lot of those situations, we want to get back out there quick and jump on pucks and try and throw it to the net, and we've been very, very lucky."

Video: WPG@VGK, Gm4: Smith wires wrister in for lead


Golden Knights projected lineup

Jonathan Marchessault -- William Karlsson -- Reilly Smith

James Neal -- Erik Haula -- David Perron

Ryan Carpenter -- Cody Eakin -- Alex Tuch

Tomas Nosek -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Ryan Reaves

Brayden McNabb -- Nate Schmidt

Shea Theodore -- Deryk Engelland

Luca Sbisa -- Colin Miller

Marc-Andre Fleury

Maxime Lagace

Scratched: Jon Merrill, Brad Hunt, Oscar Lindberg, Tomas Tatar

Injured: William Carrier (undisclosed), Malcolm Subban (undisclosed)


Jets projected lineup

Kyle Connor -- Mark Scheifele -- Blake Wheeler

Nikolaj Ehlers -- Paul Stastny -- Patrik Laine

Brandon Tanev -- Adam Lowry -- Joel Armia

Mathieu Perreault -- Bryan Little -- Jack Roslovic

Josh Morrissey -- Jacob Trouba

Dmitry Kulikov -- Dustin Byfuglien

Joel Armia -- Tyler Myers

Connor Hellebuyck

Steve Mason

Scratched: Tucker PoolmanShawn Matthias, Marko DanoMatt Hendricks , Andrew Copp, Toby Enstrom, Ben Chiarot

Injured: None


Status report

Kulikov returns after not playing since March 8 because of a back injury, and will replace Enstrom. ... Armia replaces Copp and Morrow is in for Chiarot. ... Mason will serve as the backup after not backing up Hellebucyk in Game 4. 


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