Vegas Golden Knights vs Winnipeg Jets: The Unexcpted Western Conference Finals

The Winnipeg Jets toppled the Predators game seven in Nashville, marking three of four wins on Nashville’s home ice and now move on to play Vegas in the Conference finals. The winner moves onto the Stanley Cup. The Jets record thus far is 8-4 through two rounds, as Vegas is 8-2 through two rounds.

By The Numbers…

Winnipeg seems to have the upper hand on Vegas.

Goals for through 12 playoff games Winnipeg has 43, second among all playoff teams. While Vegas has 29 goals for through 10 playoff games, ranked 8th among all playoff teams and 4th among active playoff teams(therefore last). Winnipeg averages 3.5 goals for per game while Vegas averages 2.9 per game.

Goals against Vegas has allowed 17 compared to Winnipeg’s 28. Vegas ranks first among all active playoff teams for goals against, while Winnipeg ranks second.

Winnipeg’s power play is ranked third among active teams performing at a 25 percent rate, while Vegas is performing at a 17.5 percent. The penalty kill though Vegas has the upper hand at 85 percent while Winnipeg is performing at a74.5 percent.

The top scorers for Vegas and Winnipeg though, Mark Scheifle leads the team with 16 points through 12 games, while Vegas’s Jonathan Marchessault has 11 points through 10 games. The Jets has four players performing at more than a point per game, with Blake Wheeler(15), Paul Statsny(14) and Dustin Byfuglien(13). While Vegas has Riley Smith and William Karlsson at just above a point per game.

Goaltending for Vegas is the upper-hand for them, probably the only upper hand they have besides being unpredictable and hard to figure out. The Jets goaltender Connor Hellebyuck is 8-4 with a 2.25 GAA and .927 SV %, while the MVP of the playoffs and arguably the reason Vegas has made it this far, Marc Andre Fleury. Fleury is 8-2 with a 1.53 GAA and .951 SV %. If Vegas wins this series it will be because of the guy in between the pipes. As Byfuglien even said “throw pucks on net and hope they go in.” when asked about scoring on Fleury.

Winnipeg: 5 Vegas: 3 

Verdict…

The Jets have the home-ice advantage here, the first time Vegas will not four games at home this playoff, and quite frankly could be the difference maker. The Jets have been good on home ice and so have the Golden Knights which is why the home-ice will play a huge advantage to the Jets.

The Jets most certainly played tougher opponents than Vegas, not to discredit the Kings or Sharks but the Wild and Predators are no easy first two opponents. The Jets knocking off Nashville in seven games, and taking three in Nashville that series is a huge confidence booster. While Vegas is a tough place to play they will essentially need to take just one in Vegas to have the upper hand in this series. If they can take three in Nashville, Vegas can’t be too hard. If Winnipeg takes care of business and does their job on home-ice there will be no worries for them. This will for sure be a hard-fought series, one no one expected perhaps, but with a powerhouse of an offense and the unpredictable Knights. These two will make the Conference finals interesting for all viewers. And will definitely be boosting the NHL television ratings this time around. At the end of it all, I am going Winnipeg in six games.

 

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