Cincinnati.com
National Hockey League
Preview
Vegas at Winnipeg
When: 3:00 PM ET, Sunday, May 20, 2018
Where: Bell MTS Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba

The Vegas Golden Knights have seized every opportunity during their spectacular inaugural season, and now stand one win from the Stanley Cup finals entering Game 5 of the Western Conference finals Sunday at the Winnipeg Jets. After dropping the opening game of the series, the Golden Knights have ridden Marc-Andre Fleury’s outstanding goaltending, an impressive performance from their top line and the ability to counter Winnipeg’s every punch to a 3-1 series lead.

“The fact we always bounce back right away when they get (a goal) and keep the momentum on our side, I think has been the key to the series,” Fleury told reporters after Vegas captured Game 4 with a 3-2 victory on Reilly Smith’s go-ahead goal with 6:58 to play. Four times in the series, Vegas has scored fewer than 90 seconds after a Winnipeg goal, and the Golden Knights have netted the game’s opening tally in winning each of the past three games. Winnipeg played well for long stretches of each of the past two games, only to come away with two road losses that has put the Jets’ season on the brink following a hard-fought seven-game series victory over Nashville in the conference semifinals. “In our minds, this series is far from over,” Jets defenseman Tyler Myers told reporters after Game 4, in which he scored the game-tying goal early in the third period. “We’re going back home for the next one and we’ll focus on that.”

TV: 3 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, Sportsnet, TVA

ABOUT THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS: Vegas’ top line of William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault and Smith shined yet again in Game 4, combining for two goals and two assists. That was more than enough for Fleury, who made 35 saves overall and robbed Winnipeg several times in facing 27 shots in the final two periods. Vegas has excelled in the past two games by hounding the Jets in the neutral zone, finishing Game 4 with 24 takeaways and blocking 25 shots.

ABOUT THE JETS: Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck made 26 saves but allowed three goals in losing his third game in a row, and his save percentage during the losing streak is .895. Winnipeg applied waves of pressure in the final two periods and outshot the Golden Knights 37-29 in the game, sparked in part by a strong performance from Jack Roslovic and Mathieu Perreault on the third line (both finished plus-1). Patrik Laine picked up a power-play goal Friday, giving the 20-year-old five tallies in 16 playoff contests.

OVERTIME

1. Jets F Nikolaj Ehlers, who missed Game 3 with illness, played 16:35 in Game 4 but remains scoreless in the postseason after netting 29 goals in the regular season.

2. Vegas F David Perron played 13:51 after missing the past two games with illness.

3. Winnipeg F Blake Wheeler recorded his league playoff-leading 18th assist on Laine’s goal.

PREDICTION: Jets 3, Golden Knights 2
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div
Vegas 62-26-5-3 W3 35-10-2-1 27-16-3-2 16-1-1-1 46-25-4-2 28-7-4-0
Winnipeg 61-26-9-2 L3 37-10-2-0 24-16-7-2 6-4-0-0 55-22-9-2 23-12-3-0
Last Meeting
Vegas Winnipeg
Date Away Home Shots Saves PP Shots Saves PP
5/18/18 WIN 2 VEG 3 29 35 1-2 37 26 1-4
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Total Points Player  
Vegas R. Smith 2
Winnipeg D. Byfuglien 1
Goals Player  
Vegas W. Karlsson 1
Winnipeg P. Laine 1
Assists Player  
Vegas P. Bellemare 1
Winnipeg D. Byfuglien 1
Saves Player  
Vegas M. Fleury 35
Winnipeg C. Hellebuyck 26
Season
Total Points Player  
Vegas J. Marchessault 94
Winnipeg B. Wheeler 115
Goals Player  
Vegas W. Karlsson 49
Winnipeg P. Laine 54
Assists Player  
Vegas J. Marchessault 58
Winnipeg B. Wheeler 89
Saves Player  
Vegas M. Fleury 1795
Winnipeg C. Hellebuyck 2404
Quickchart Matchup
Vegas Off vs  Winnipeg Def
3.22 GF
2.61 GA
32.6 Shots
31.6 Shots
62 PP
60 PK
Winnipeg Off vs  Vegas Def
3.32 GF
2.61 GA
32.4 Shots
31.2 Shots
76 PP
54 PK