The Winnipeg Jets and Vegas Golden Knights have intrigued Canadian hockey fans this post-season, if television ratings are any indication. Is Las Vegas the right bet tonight in Game 4 to take a commanding lead in the series?
After the Jets came out flying in a 4-2 win in the opener of the Western Conference Final, they tried to beat the Knights with speed and finesse in Game 2 but failed in a 3-1 loss in Winnipeg. With his two goals, Scheifele now owns the National Hockey League record for most goals scored on the road in a single playoffs with 11, surpassing Sidney Crosby and Joe Mullen, each with 10.
The Vegas Golden Knights are scheduled to host a watch party for Game 5 against the Winnipeg Jets during the Stanley Cup Playoffs at Toshiba Plaza on May 20. One of the driving factors for their success has been the stout play of goalkeeper Marc-Andre Fleury. But 12 seconds later, James Neal put Vegas back on top, showing the Jets yet again why they can't let up for any shift against this Golden Knights squad.
Jonathan Marchessault scored 35 seconds into Game 3 and added an empty-net goal with 2.7 seconds left to cover the puck line (-1½) and push the game over the total in what CG Technology sports book director Jason Simbal said was a $60,000 swing for his book. Game 4 will be another home game in T-Mobile Arena on Friday.
"I love the way the Jets brought Winnipeg together", Brandon said.
In Vegas, like most places, ask a cabbie for his opinion and you'll get the pulse of the community.
Even excluding Manitoba, the Jets remained the favourite button on television remotes in Western Canada with 22 per cent more viewers in Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C., watching Winnipeg versus Nashville than the Knights-Sharks series, according to Sportsnet. For about seven minutes in the third period (Wednesday), Winnipeg applied as much pressure as they possibly could have on Vegas and they still could not get the job done.
The Golden Knights said there will be face painting, corn hole, a shooting cage, and the March to the Fortress game.
"I'm sad, but I know they played hard and played awesome game, and they'll win next time", Winnipegger Hilda Anderson-Pyrz said.
And the team that takes a 3-1 lead has gone on to win more than 90 percent of the time.
Which is not to say a Golden Knights home game is a sombre affair.
"Vegas just keeps on grinding, stays disciplined and keeps playing their system with a bunch of guys that really have something to prove", Lane said.
The Jets' resilience throughout the year will serve them well here, and I find no reason to back off my series prediction of a Jets win.