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Golden Knights Took Crowd Out By Taking Away Winnipeg’s Ability To Get To Dangerous Areas

Nate Schmidt played the game of his life and his stick was a big reason this story was able to be written. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Game 2 started out frantic. Back and forth action forced goalies in both nets to be at their best to keep the game tied. The Winnipeg crowd was buzzing and the Golden Knights appeared destined to be headed for the same fate as Game 1 if any puck slipped past Fleury.

Luckily, unlike in Game 1 when the second shot he saw beat him from 40+ feet out, Fleury was able to turn away every early chance, including one that snuck under him and was cleared off the line by Nate Schmidt. The game was playing into the hands of the home team, again. Even though the Golden Knights were getting chances, the building was ready to explode and the game was ready to snowball like it did Saturday night.

We didn’t feel like it started poorly at all. We liked our start. -Paul Maurice, Jets head coach

Then, the tide turned a bit. The Golden Knights spoke about getting through the first 10 minutes. They did, but it wasn’t exactly pretty. However, once it got there, things changed and remained the new way for the next 30 minutes. 30 minutes that not only won Game 2, but got the series under control for the Golden Knights, and now have the Jets on their heels heading to T-Mobile Arena on Wednesday.

The Golden Knights first goal came 13:23 into the 1st. That goal shut the crowd down, but the rest of the 1st and the entire 2nd refused to let them, or the Jets, back in it.

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“Big” Problem Against Sharks Even Bigger Problem Against Jets

San Jose had its best lucky when they were right in Fleury’s face. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

By now you’ve heard about Winnipeg’s size and skill. It was on full display last night as the Jets outworked Nashville defensively and offensively. All postseason, Winnipeg has effectively used their size in front of the net creating messy traffic and high-scoring chances. Something San Jose did well against Vegas in the second round.

They are always kind of in my kitchen, right? -Marc-Andre Fleury

Overall, San Jose had plenty of chances in front of the net, but was mostly unsuccessful.

We had some defensive breakdowns that we kind of got lucky. They hit a number of posts. They were buzzing in front of our net pretty good. -Shea Theodore

Tomas Hertl (6’2″/220) used a mix of size and talent, tallying three goals in six games. Two were almost identical in that Vegas defenders couldn’t clear the puck, or San Jose attackers. Notice the swarm of teal surrounding Fleury.

Five Golden Knights allowed four Sharks countless opportunities to convert. Inches away from Fleury.

I think San Jose was one of the best teams in front of the net. That last game, they threw everything at net. Flower made some big saves and the post helped us a couple of times. -Luca Sbisa

In the end, VGK’s defensive lapses didn’t hurt them from advancing, but it could in the conference final. Winnipeg’s net presence is similar, if not better than San Jose’s attack.

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