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5 Keys: Jets at Golden Knights, Game 3

Winnipeg seeks fast start; Perron game-time decision for Vegas

by Shawn Roarke @sroarke_nhl / Director of Editorial



Best-of-7 series tied 1-1


LAS VEGAS -- The Vegas Golden Knights and Winnipeg Jets will each look to take a 2-1 series lead in the Western Conference Final with a win in Game 3 at T-Mobile Arena on Wednesday.

Teams that take a 2-1 lead in the conference final (or NHL Semifinals) have won the series 35 of 43 times (81.4 percent) since 1975.

The Golden Knights defeated the Jets 3-1 in Game 2 at Bell MTS Place on Monday. Forward Jonathan Marchessault scored twice, including the game-winning goal.

Marchessault has 15 points (six goals, nine assists) in 12 Stanley Cup Playoff games. The record for most points by a player in the first postseason appearance by his team is 18, set by Jude Drouin with the New York Islanders in 1975. The record for most goals by a player in the first postseason appearance by his team is 10, set by Dave Lowry of the Florida Panthers in 1996. 

Here are 5 keys for Game 3.


1. Business as usual for Golden Knights

The series switches locations to Las Vegas, which means the Golden Knights have the advantage of the last change after stoppages.

However, Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said he doesn't want to change much from what his team has done in the past two games.

"I don't want them thinking we're going to change things because the head coach is worried about this and that," Gallant said. "Business as usual. Let's go play the game. Let's work hard, have fun. Hey, it's another big game. Everybody knows where we're at."


2. Perron's status

Golden Knights forward David Perron is a game-time decision after missing Game 2 with an illness. Perron, who has seven points (all assists) in the postseason, said he is feeling better.

"This crowd is going to be buzzing tonight," Perron said. "It'll be great to be in front of the fans tied 1-1, and tonight is going to be a night where we have to take advantage of our own crowd and see if we can get the two wins here."


3. Stay in control

The Jets have started fast in each of the first two games. They scored 1:05 into Game 1 and had a three-goal lead at 7:35 of the first period in an eventual 4-2 win. In Game 2, Winnipeg had the first three shots on goal, including one by Mark Scheifele 35 seconds in that was cleared off the Vegas goal line. However, the Golden Knights regrouped and scored goals 3:59 apart late in the first period for a 2-0 lead in their 3-1 win.

"We liked our start last game. But I think after the first 10 minutes, we kind of took our foot off the gas and just didn't play our game," said forward Patrick Laine, who had four shots on goal in Game 2, tied for the Jets lead with Kyle Connor and Bryan Little. "So I think that's the key for tonight's game, just to play our game and play a hard-gap-type game."

Video: VGK@WPG, Gm2: Fleury, Schmidt deny Scheifele early


4. Bounce back for Winnipeg

The Jets have yet to lose consecutive games through 14 playoff games; they have gone 26 games, dating to the regular season, without losing two straight. Winnipeg lost three consecutive games March 10-13 and is 20-6-0 since.

"You never want to lose a game," Scheifele said. "You are going to be mad, you are going to be upset about something in the game you lost. You want to come back stronger. You have that hunger and that motivation to do better."


5. Strike first

The first goal could prove crucial because each team has been nearly unbeatable in the playoffs when scoring first. The Jets are 8-1; the Golden Knights are 7-1.

Winnipeg has one win in five games in the playoffs when it doesn't score first; Vegas is 2-2 when its opponent gets the first goal.


Jets projected lineup

Kyle Connor -- Mark Scheifele -- Blake Wheeler

Nikolaj Ehlers -- Paul Stastny -- Patrik Laine

Brandon Tanev -- Adam Lowry -- Bryan Little

Mathieu Perreault -- Andrew Copp -- Joel Armia

Josh Morrissey -- Jacob Trouba

Toby Enstrom -- Dustin Byfuglien

Ben Chiarot -- Tyler Myers

Connor Hellebuyck

Steve Mason

Scratched: Tucker Poolman, Joe Morrow, Shawn Matthias, Marko Dano, Jack Roslovic, Matt Hendricks

Injured: Dmitry Kulikov (back)


Golden Knights projected lineup

Jonathan Marchessault -- William Karlsson -- Reilly Smith

Alex Tuch -- Erik Haula -- James Neal

Ryan Carpenter -- Cody Eakin -- Tomas Tatar

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: David Perron, Oscar Lindberg, Brad Hunt, Jon Merrill

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


Status report

Carrier remains out with an undisclosed injury. He has not started skating with the team. … Subban did not take part in the morning skate and is considered day to day. Lagace, who hasn't played in the NHL since March 14, is expected to be Fleury's backup. He has never played in an NHL playoff game. … Winnipeg is expected to use the same lineup from the first two games.

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