WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) William Karlsson and Ivan Barbashev scored 47 seconds apart in the second period and the Vegas Golden Knights held on for a 4-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Monday night to take a 3-1 lead in their first-round playoff series.
The Golden Knights could eliminate Winnipeg in Game 5 of the best-of-seven series on Thursday night in Las Vegas. Teams that take a 3-1 lead in a best-of-seven series hold a series record of 299-31.
“At the end of the day, no panic, just take care of business,” Vegas head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “Play the right way and end up getting the win, that’s what we came here for.”
Winnipeg lost more than the game when veteran star centre Mark Scheifele left the ice early in the first period and the team announced he wouldn’t return because of an upper-body injury. He joined a growing list of injured teammates that includes all-star defenseman Josh Morrissey (injured in Game 3) and speedy forward Nikolaj Ehlers, who hasn’t competed in the playoffs.
“Upper-body injury and he’ll be re-evaluated tomorrow,” Jets head coach Rick Bowness said of Scheifele.
Manitoba-born forward Brett Howden scored twice for the Golden Knights, including one into an empty net.
“Both games had both my parents and all my siblings here, in-laws as well, so pretty special to be able to do it in front of them,” said Howden, who was born in Oakbank, Man.
Chandler Stephenson and Shea Theodore each had two assists. Laurent Brossoit made 24 saves.
“We didn’t really give them anything,” said Brossoit, who played three seasons with the Jets. “They’re dealing with some injuries, but we’ve got a veteran group that didn’t get complacent and we took it to them.”
Blake Wheeler had a goal and assist and Pierre-Luc Dubois also scored for Winnipeg. Neal Pionk added two assists, extending his point streak to seven assists in four games. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 26 of the 29 shots he faced for Winnipeg.
“We have two options,” Dubois said. “We can either feel bad for ourselves, or we can have a positive mindset. We won one in Vegas before. We feel like we have the recipe to do it again.
The score was 1-all after the first period and 3-1 in favor of Vegas following the second.
Scheifele had fans cheering and then worrying in a matter of minutes.
On a breakaway about two-and-a-half minutes into the game, Scheifele took a close shot that Brossoit stopped, and then got tripped up and crashed into the end boards on his left side. He got up and continued skating and was on the ice for a Winnipeg power play. When he tried to fire a shot from inside the circle, it didn’t have a lot of power behind it and he appeared to immediately clutch his right arm. He skated to the bench and left the game at 5:11.
Scheifele led the Jets in goals in the regular season with a career-best 42. He had one goal in the playoffs.
Wheeler beat Brossoit with the man advantage at 5:53.
Not long after, Howden, who was born in Oakbank, Manitoba, scored the tying goal exactly four minutes later. His first shot was blocked and he got the loose puck and put it past Hellebuyck.
The Golden Knights boosted their lead to 3-1 in the second period with Karlsson’s goal at 13:32, followed by Barbashev with a tip of Theodore’s shot at 14:19.
Dubois made it 3-2 on a power play with a bouncing puck that went high in the air off Alex Pietrangelo’s stick and down beside Brossoit and into the net at 2:53 of the third.
Stephenson’s two assists gave him multiple points in three straight games. He became the fourth player in Golden Knights’ history to record multiple points in three or more consecutive playoff games. … Vegas forward Phil Kessel played in his 100th career playoff game. … Winnipeg defenseman Logan Stanley took Morrissey’s roster spot. … Jets backup goalie David Rittich (lower body) missed the game. He was replaced with emergency AHL call-up Arvid Holm.
AP NHL Playoffs: https://apnews.com/hub/stanley-cup and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
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