May 13 (UPI) — The Winnipeg Jets scored three first period goals in a 4-2 victory against the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.
Winnipeg pulled off the victory Saturday at Bells MTS Place in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
“We were really solid at the start, so that changes the way I get to run the bench,” Jets coach Paul Maurice told reporters. “Blake Wheeler ends up at 18 minutes and also having the lead you are conformable with your four lines. You are not chasing the game where you have to cut down. The start was very important. We did take advantage off of being game ready from our last series.”
The Jets got their first score 65 seconds into the game. Mark Scheifele took control of the puck after a Golden Knights turnover. He skated down the ice and drew two defenders, before leaving the puck behind for Dustin Byfuglien. The Jets defenseman ripped a deep shot, beating Marc-Andre Fleury stick side.
Patrik Laine helped the Jets increase the lead to 2-0 5:44 later. Laine beat Fleury on a Jets power play. He hovered on the left flank before getting a far post pass from Wheeler. Laine hammered a one-timer past Fleury, beating him top shelf.
Joel Armia added a third goal in the frame, before the Golden Knights finally got on the board with a Brayden McNabb goal 8:10 into the first period.
Scheifele scored his 12th goal of the Stanley Cup playoffs 9:54 into the second period. William Karlsson put in another for the Golden Knights with five seconds remaining in the bridge frame. Both of those score came on the power play.
“It’s the Wester Conference finals, there is going to be quite a bit of emotion in these games,” Wheeler said. “I think each series we’ve played it ramps up a little bit each time.”
Game 2 of the Western Conference finals is at 8 p.m. Monday in Winnipeg.