The game couldn’t have started any faster for the Jets and the Golden Knights. On the first shift of the game, Mark Stone laid a hit on Winnipeg’s Blake Wheeler which the Jets captain didn’t appreciate. The 6’5 Wheeler and the 6’4 Stone slugged it out in a good old fashioned heavyweight battle. Both players were given five-minute major penalties for fighting.
“Obviously, you don’t want to see him fighting too much, but he plays a physical game and that’s going to come around. It’s good to see him answer the bell when things like that happen. He’s a big part of this team and I think it helped get us an energy boost at the start.” – Reilly Smith, Vegas Forward
After tempers settled down, William Karlsson and Reilly Smith took over. Karlsson scored his 21st goal of the season 1:24 into the game, and Smith added his 16th goal seven minutes later. The first period was a big success for Vegas but, unfortunately, Max Pacioretty was injured and left for the locker room late in the period.
“We want to be the line. We’ve had a bit of a rollercoaster this year so I’m glad to see we are back to the way we can play. We’re just feeling very confident.” – William Karlsson, Vegas Center
The Golden Knights started the second period down a man as Pacioretty wouldn’t come back from his first period injury. Vegas would be forced to kill multiple penalties in the second frame but it didn’t impact their offense. Tomas Nosek nabbed his 8th goal of the year on a shorthanded shot just under the crossbar.
Smith and Karlsson would join the party again to add second period goals 24 seconds apart. After forty minutes in the books, the Golden Knights held a commanding 5-0 lead.
“It’s good to get a feel of the game and get in there, but I’m sure Fleury will be back soon. Just trying to get some wins and help the boys get a win while he is gone. We have been playing a great team game and good to see so many games, so it’s helped a lot for sure.” – Malcolm Subban, Vegas Goaltender
In the third, Malcolm Subban continued to turn away every chance the Jets had. Overall the goalie had 20 saves and earned his first career NHL shutout.
The Golden Knights improve their record to (42-27-5) and remain in the Pacific Division’s third place position, with eight games left to play. The team will get back on the ice Saturday as Vegas will host the Detroit Red Wings. Opening faceoff is scheduled for 7:00 pm.