JETS 4, GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2
Winnipeg scores three quick goals, takes West opener.
Dustin Byfuglien scored about a minute after the puck dropped, and the host Winnipeg Jets built a three-goal lead early in the first period and went on to beat the Vegas Golden Knights, 4-2, on Saturday night in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.
Patrik Laine and Joel Armia had goals 46 seconds apart to put the Jets up 3-0. Mark Scheifele gave Winnipeg a 4-1 lead midway through the second period with his 12th goal of the postseason.
Brayden McNabb scored midway through the first period, and William Karlsson found the net late in the second to pull Vegas within two, but the expansion club couldn’t get any closer.
Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck made 18 saves. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 22 shots for the Golden Knights. The Jets will host Game 2 on Monday before the series shifts to Las Vegas.
While the Jets played at home less than 48 hours after advancing past top-seeded Nashville on the road, the Golden Knights were off for nearly a week after eliminating San Jose.
“We didn’t have much of a rest,” Byfuglien said. “We’re still in game mode.”
Byfuglien’s slap shot 1:05 into the game put Winnipeg up 1-0. Fleury had no shot to stop Laine’s one-timer from the left circle off Blake Wheeler’s crossice pass on a power play at 6:49 of the first. Armia had a goal waved off less than a minute later only to have it restored by a challenge, which overturned the goaltender interference call on the ice.
Vegas pulled Fleury for an extra skater late and had some chances to pull within one, but the shot-blocking Jets didn’t let the puck get to Hellebuyck often.
“We were chasing the game all night,” Golden Knights Coach Gerard Gallant said.
Fisher retires again
Nashville Predators center Mike Fisher announced his retirement for the second time.
Fisher, 37, had retired after the Predators lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup finals last season. He signed with Nashville in late February and played 16 regular season games, then 12 more in the playoffs before the Predators were eliminated in the second round by Winnipeg. He did not play in Game 7 of that series because of a lower body injury suffered in Game 6.
Fisher had 278 goals and 311 assists in 1,104 games with the Ottawa Senators and Predators. He had six 20-goal seasons, including 25 in 2009-10 for Ottawa, which selected him in the second round of the 1998 draft.
In the Alex Ovechkin era, the Capitals are 3-5 in playoff series in which they won Game 1.