Happy Mother's Day!
After months of sneaking up on teams, the Vegas Golden Knights barely knew what hit them in Game 1. The Jets scored three goals within the first eight minutes of the game, which turned out to be enough for a 4-2 victory in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final.
Only a minute after puck drop, Dustin Byfuglien received a drop pass from Mark Scheifele and fired a slap shot past Marc-Andre Fleury. Then nearly seven minutes in, Patrik Laine fired a one-timer to make the score 2-0. See Laine’s goal below.
Not even a minute after, Joel Armia appeared to score, but the goal was immediately waived off for what appeared to be goalie interference. Paul Maurice decided to challenge anyway, which resulted in a long sequence in which referee Kelly Sutherland clarified that the challenge was not about the puck being kicked in. After several more minutes of deliberation, video review reversed the original call, giving the Jets the 3-0 lead. Although Fleury was interfered with, the puck appeared to be going in before the interference took place. See it for yourself and be the judge.
Brayden McNabb scored less than a minute later to put the Golden Knights back to where they were before the video review call.
The second and third periods weren’t nearly as eventful, with the teams trading goals by Mark Scheifele and William Karlsson. Late in the second period, James Neal hammered Tobias Enstrom with an open-ice hit.
The good news is that Enstrom was able to return for the third period.
Blake Wheeler led all skaters in this game with three points, all assists. Wheeler has recorded multiple points in back-to-back games. He has picked up where he left off during the regular season, racking up major assist totals (3 goals and 15 assists in 13 playoff games). Although he turns 32 later this summer, Wheeler is playing the best hockey of his career with his 68 assists this past season tied for the league lead (and of course a career high, as is his 91 points). His trade to the Atlanta Thrashers from the Boston Bruins in 2011 is turning out to be one of the NHL’s most one-sided deals.