Slovakian left wing Tomas Tatar opened the scoring for Vegas 13:23 into the opening period and the Golden Knights made it 2-0 just 3:58 later after a mid-rink turnover allowed Marchessault to charge in alone and beat Winnipeg goaltender Connor Hellebuyck.
"He's a good player; he finds those soft areas unbelievably well, and he goes to the net hard", Smith said.
On Monday, Vegas did.
In the finals East will play the Washington capitals and "Tampa Bay lightning".
Tomas Tatar and Jonathan Marchessault scored in the first period to give the Knights the lead for good.
It was all the visitors would need on a night where Vegas goalie Marc-André Fleury was both lucky and good. They haven't dropped consecutive games since early March.
Ultimately, they kicked a lot of tires, but swung just three deals. The Golden Knights converted theirs - and early.
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Vegas weathered a blistering attack by Winnipeg at the outset. "It didn't hold but it didn't cost us, but certainly there's a 10 minute block there we're not going to like very much tomorrow". It was Tatar's first point of the postseason. One goal is different than two goals is different than three goals and so on and so forth.
Before the fans were even able to sit back down, Marchessault skated to the front of the net, received another flawless pass from Smith, and backhanded the puck past Connor Hellebuyck to seal the game for Vegas.
The rough stuff that predominated in Game 1 continued.
Kyle Connor answered for the Jets with 12:43 remaining in the third period, the NHL's top rookie goal scorer with 31 connecting just inside the near post to the right of Vegas netminder Marc-Andre Fleury, the U.S. left winger's third playoff goal lifting Winnipeg within 2-1.
And then, just as suddenly, it was 3-1.
One thing Jonathan Marchessault has never done in hockey is run from the battle. "Everybody has to be more competitive". "We got a couple of posts on us and we were not right".
They swapped victories with the Predators for seven games in Round 2 and lost twice on their home ice. Neither team found the scoreboard in the second.
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The downtown arena in Winnipeg claimed more victims than any other in the league this season.
Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg has a well-earned reputation as a tough place to play.
But instead of giving the Jets an expected boost, Marchessault and the Golden Knights replied one minute, 28 seconds later, restoring the two-goal cushion and essentially putting the game on ice - turning the Western Conference final into a best-of-five while stealing home-ice advantage.
"It's a series", Jets defenceman Jacob Trouba said.
"They were better for sure." head coach Paul Maurice said. The Western Conference Final will start Saturday night. Best pre-game interview of the playoffs yet - Scott Oake with Ryan Reaves. "He wasn't feeling well", Gallant said. "It has no implication on the next game. When you start letting it snowball, that's when it gets more challenging".
The Golden Knights are banking heavily on Fleury to carry them through to the next round.
Notes: Game 6, if necessary, will be May 22 in Vegas, while a potential Game 7 would go May 24 in Winnipeg.
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Games 3 and 4 go Wednesday and Friday in Vegas. Teammate Josh Morrissey says he is not surprised with Scheifele's success.