Vegas Golden Knights prove they belong here with Game 2 win
Vegas Golden Knights' forward Jonathan Marchessault celebrates his first period goal in Game 2 win. (Photo: Trevor Hagan/The Canadian Press vis AP)

Vegas Golden Knights prove they belong here with Game 2 win

Led by an inspired Jonathan Marchessault's two goals, the Golden Knights played their game and came away with an important road win.

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William Grigsby

This game was about the Vegas Golden Knights justifying (as if they must) the fact that they are in the Western Conference Finals... or even in the playoffs, period.

The star forward for the Vegas club, Jonathan Marchessault said it best, "Every time we [need] a big game [out] of our group, we show up, and tonight we definitely showed up. I think we showed the hockey world that we [earned] the right to be here and we're able to play against a great team."

That they did.

First-period success

Marchessault did have some help. Tomas Tatar who had been a healthy scratch the past three playoff games stepped up replacing an ill David Perron to score the game's first goal a 13:23.

Tatar forced a turnover, and didn't give up after he hit the side of the net with his first shot. He persevered, and with a nifty tuck alongside the right post, he beat the Winnipeg Jets' goalie Connor Hellebuyck to give his team the lead.

Then, nearing the end of the first period, Marchessault was the recipient of an excellent pass after another Winnipeg turnover to come in alone on Hellebuyck and place a backhander past him five-hole. 

The hard work on this goal goes to Reilly Smith who stole the puck at center-ice and head-maned it to a streaking Marchessault. 

At the 17:22 mark the Golden Knights were ahead 2-0, but they knew the Jets wouldn't abort their mission. 

They had to be ready.

Scoreless second-period

With the Golden Knights in a comfortable lead (well, maybe not that comfortable), they were content with just keeping the high-flying, offensive machine known as the Winnipeg Jets off the scoreboard... and they did just that. 

Both teams had eight shots on goal, including this quick release of a Patrik Laine shot which a refocused Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside with his blocker.

Third-period action

The Jets finally got re-fueled enough to get on the scoreboard by cutting the Vegas lead in half at the 7:17 mark of the third.

Kyle Connor got his third goal of the playoffs on a power play goal after a rush initiated by Tyler Myers. Connor had a tough angle shot which Fleury allowed to go under his arm and squeeze through to make it 2-1.

But... the Marchessault show was not over just yet.

Reilly Smith gathered his second assist as he skated in on the left side, and planted perfect pass on Marchessault's stick in the slot. The talented forward made no mistake as he faked Hellebuyck and threw in a slick backhander for not only his second goal of the game but his second backhand goal of the game.

How many times have we seen that?

Fleury came back strong

Recovering nicely from his opening game defeat, Marc-Andre Fleury made 30 saves and played like his old self. He was able to stop this sneaky re-direct by Mark Scheifele who has been killing it in the playoffs with 12 goals, and 18 points in 14 playoff games.

The series now moves to Vegas for Game 3 where the Golden Knights are 4-1 at home. The Jets feel confident that their road record of 4-2 can give them the advantage.

Something's got to give.

Did the Vegas Golden Knights show they are for real and deserve to be in the third round of the playoffs with this win? What will happen in Game 3? Let us know in the comments section below.

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