(Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

Las Vegas–Tonight north of the border, the Vegas Golden Knights took on the Winnipeg Jets in a pivotal game two of the Western Conference Final.

In the series opener, Vegas did not play Golden Knights brand of hockey and it showed with the Jets getting on them early and eventually beating them 4-2.

With the Golden Knights trailing a playoff series for the first time in the Western Conference Final they knew that taking game two in Winnipeg was a big win for them as Vegas forward Jonathan Marchessault made mentioned of after the morning skate session.

Prior to the contest, Vegas Head Coach Gerard Gallant made some key lineup changes for game two by injecting Tomas Tatar and Tomas Nosek in for David Perron and Oscar Lindberg.

For the Golden Knights, they made good on what Marchessault said and they came out in the first period of game two and grabbed the lead at the 13:23 mark of the frame and it was thanks to Gallant’s move to inserting Tatar into the lineup.

On the scoring play, Shea Theodore in the slot setup Tatar at the doorstep, missed his mark on the initial shot that rang off of the iron but it was the follow up chance behind Connor Hellebuyck beat the Jets netminder for a 1-0 Vegas lead.

Late in the opening period the Golden Knights would double up on the Jets as they made a huge mistake in the neutral zone as it would be Kyle Connor getting stripped by Reilly Smith and after that, the puck found it’s way onto Marchessault’s stick.

Marchessault went in on a 1 on 1 play against Hellebuyck and beat him five hole for his 5th of the playoffs and a 2-0 Golden Knights lead with 2:38 left in the first.

After Marchessualt gave the Golden Knights a 2 goal lead on Winnipeg, Smith tied former New York Islanders Jude Drouin of the 1975 team with his 12th assists of the playoffs by a club in their first ever postseason appearance.

During the third frame of game two, the Winnipeg Jets finally solved Marc-André Fleury as Connor redeemed himself from the play that led to the 2nd Vegas goal as he beat the 3-time Stanley Cup Champ on the short side and made it a 2-1 Golden Knights lead at the 7:17 mark.

For the Winnipeg Jets and their fans of 15,321 at Bell MTS Place, Connor’s goal celebration was short lived and the Golden Knights restored their 2 goal cushion from Marchessault beating Hellebuyck with a nifty backhander for a 3-1 Vegas lead a minute and 38 seconds later.

Marchessault was helped out once again by fellow linemate Smith who earned his 13th assist of the playoffs and moved into another tie this time with former Sharks forward Igor Larionov of the then 94 San Jose team who made their first appearance in the postseason.

At the end of the night, 3 goals was all the Golden Knights needed to take game two as they tied up the series at 1-1 beating Winnipeg 3-1.

In Fleury’s bounce back game he did his part with his stellar performance in net for Vegas with stopping 30 of 31 Winnipeg shots he faced and posted a .968 save percentage.

With the series tied at 1 game apiece, the Golden Knights have the opportunity to do some serious damage on the Jets as they are 4-1-1 at home in this year’s playoffs.

3 Stars Of The Game

Vegas Golden Knights: Jonathan Marchessault (2 goals)

Vegas Golden Knights: Marc-André Fleury (30 saves)

Vegas Golden Knights: Reilly Smith (2 assists)

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