William Karlsson and Ivan Barbashev scored 47 seconds apart in the second period and the visiting Vegas Golden Knights held on for a 4-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets Monday night, giving them a 3-1 lead in their first-round playoff series.
Game 5 of the best-of-seven Western Conference battle goes Thursday in Vegas. Teams that take a 3-1 lead in a best-of-seven series hold a series record of 299-31.
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 defenceman Josh Morrissey (injured in Game 3) and speedy forward Nikolaj Ehlers, who hasn’t yet competed in the playoffs.
Manitoba-born forward Brett Howden scored twice for the Golden Knights, including one into an empty net. Chandler Stephenson and Shea Theodore each added two helpers. Laurent Brossoit made 24 saves.
Blake Wheeler had a goal and assist and Pierre-Luc Dubois also scored for Winnipeg. Neal Pionk contributed two assists, extending his point streak to seven assists in four games.
Connor Hellebuyck stopped 26 of the 29 shots he faced for Winnipeg, which played in front of another boisterous sellout crowd of 15,325 white-clad fans at Canada Life Centre.
WATCH l Jets left with must-win Game 5 after 4-2 defeat to Golden Knights:
Vegas defeats Winnipeg 4-2 and takes a 3-1 lead in their first-round playoff series. The Jets will play in a must-win Game 5 on Thursday.
The score was 1-1 after the first period and 3-1 for 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 went down the tunnel 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 took the crowd’s mind off the injury for a moment when he beat Brossoit with the man advantage at 5:53.
The good mood didn’t last long after Howden, who was born in Oakbank, Man., scored the equalizer 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 squeezed the score to 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.