Marchessault, Fleury lead Knights over Jets as Vegas evens series 1-1

Winnipeg Jets centre Mark Scheifele warms up for Game 1 against the Vegas Golden Knights on May 14.
Kevin King  
Postmedia Network

Winnipeg Jets centre Mark Scheifele warms up for Game 1 against the Vegas Golden Knights on May 14. Kevin King Postmedia Network

The Winnipeg Jets will look to take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference finals when they host the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday night.

A particularly feisty Marchessault stared through the bright lights and bouquet of microphones in the crowded locker room, told reporters the next game was a "must win" and that "we are going to show what kind of team we are". We're just a bunch of hockey players that wanted to find a home.

Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 30 of 31 shots; his stellar performance once again continues his story as one of the most polarizing players in the Stanley Cup Playoffs thus far. Two of those found the back of the net: Tomas Tatar tallied first on a great effort staying with a almost lost play, and Marchessault next on a sneaky-five hole breakaway goal.

Jets rookie winger Kyle Connor somehow squeezed a shot between Fleury and the post at 7:17 of the final period, sending a shockwave through the arena that a rally might be coming.

With a road record of 4-1 - including an impressive Game 7 victory to eliminate the President's Trophy winners in the second round - it's impossible for the Jets not to.

"If you're going to talk out there in the media that you have to be better, I think you need to lead by example", Marchessault said. "I tried to do that". They have powered the Knights' attack since October and through two games of the Conference final, despite all the hype about the Jets' firepower, have been easily the best line in the series.

The three-time Stanley Cup champion is a big reason the Golden Knights reached the conference final, and he illustrated his importance Monday night. We like where it was in the Nashville series.

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The scrappy 5-foot-9 forward may be the smallest guy on the ice most of the time, but the competitive fire that burns inside him extinguishes any physical disadvantage. Marchessault added his second goal of the game in the third period to help secure the win for Vegas. They had to go for it.

Tatar needed three tries to open the scoring, but his persistence gave the Golden Knights a 1-0 lead at 13:23 of the first period, taking advantage when Patrik Laine was unable to get the puck out of the zone.

"There was about 57 minutes of that game that was pretty good for us. When teams are chasing the lead, it's tough for teams to battle back".

He had 75 points in 77 games for Vegas and with William Karlsson and Reilly Smith formed one of the best lines in hockey.

Vegas generated offense by making plays without the puck, forcing turnovers to set up goals.

"I'm definitely satisfied with our effort tonight", Marchessault said. "That's our game. We're a fast team". "I think we showed the hockey world that we earned the right to be here". Tatar's initial attempt went wide, but he collected the rebound off the end wall and slammed it short side before Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck could get back in position. Winnipeg was up 3-0 before eight minutes of the game had elapsed. "Three minutes of it got away from us", Jets captain Blake Wheeler said. Jets defenceman Josh Morrissey was given a standing ovation after he blocked two shots, the first of which clearly hurt him, during a Vegas power play in the second.

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