Jets upset Golden Knights in Game 1 after skate-to-face causes Barron to get 75-plus stitches

The visiting Winnipeg Jets struck first in their first-round NHL playoff series with top-seeded Vegas on Tuesday night, topping the Golden Knights 5-1 at T-Mobile Arena.

Kyle Connor and Pierre-Luc Dubois scored just over a minute apart for the Jets in the second period and Blake Wheeler added a goal early in the third.

Adam Lowry iced the win with an empty-netter and added another goal with 18.3 seconds left.

William Karlsson tallied for the Golden Knights.

Connor Hellebuyck made 16 saves for Winnipeg. His former understudy with the Jets, Laurent Brossoit, had 26 stops for the Golden Knights.

Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is scheduled for Thursday night in Las Vegas.

Forward Mark Stone returned to the Golden Knights lineup after missing four months as he recovered from back surgery.

Kevin Stenlund suited up for Winnipeg after suffering a lower-body injury last week. Fellow forward Nikolaj Ehlers, a game-time decision with an upper-body injury, sat out.

The Golden Knights earned the Pacific Division title and No. 1 seed in the Western Conference with a 111-point regular season, but it was the eighth-seeded Jets who came out gunning in the opening period.

Winnipeg had the better chances in the early going but couldn’t quite solve Brossoit.

The Jets nearly scored midway through the first period after a wild scrum in front of the Vegas net. As many as eight players were down in the crease area but the puck didn’t cross the line.

Barron receives 75-plus stitches

Morgan Barron was cut near the eyebrow by a skate blade during the scramble and left the ice for repairs. He later returned with a full cage attached to his helmet after receiving 75-plus stitches.

A free-flowing first period didn’t see a penalty until Shea Theodore was called for hooking at 13:27. Winnipeg had a brief two-man advantage when Dylan DeMelo was sent off for slashing but the Jets couldn’t convert.

Considered one of the loudest rinks in the NHL, Vegas fans were in full voice. The Jets managed to hush the sellout crowd of 18,006 with goals 62 seconds apart early in the second period.

Connor scored on a one-timer from the high slot at 1:24 and Dubois made it 2-0 when his wrist shot beat Brossoit on the blocker side at 2:26.

The first Vegas power-play came moments later when Saku Maenalanen was called for slashing. Hellebuyck went post-to-post to deny Reilly Smith on the Golden Knights’ best opportunity.

Vegas got on the board at 15:49. Ivan Barbashev feathered a pass to a cutting Karlsson, who snapped a shot in the top corner.

Wheeler restored Winnipeg’s two-goal lead at 3:53 of the third period when he flipped a backhand past a screened Brossoit.

The Jets took a bench minor for too many men on the ice with 5:15 left in regulation but Vegas never threatened. Lowry’s empty-net goal was scored with 81 seconds remaining.

Winnipeg was one of the top clubs in the conference over the first few months of the season, endured a midseason valley and closed the campaign on a 7-4-0 run to take the second wild-card berth.

The Jets used a smart, steady approach for their opening road game. Winnipeg made few mistakes and kept the Golden Knights primarily confined to the wings.

Vegas and Winnipeg previously met in the 2018 conference final. The Golden Knights advanced and went on to drop the Stanley Cup final to the Washington Capitals.

Winnipeg lost all three games to Vegas in the regular season. The Jets were 20-20-1 on the road while the Golden Knights were 25-15-1 at home.

Winnipeg will host Game 3 on Saturday afternoon and Game 4 on Monday night at Canada Life Centre. If necessary, the series would return to Nevada for Game 5 on April 27.

View original article here Source