LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — You could put it this way: Laurent Brossoit started it, Mark Stone finished it.
A victory, that is. Golden Knights 5, Winnipeg Jets 2. And just like that, their first-round best-of-seven Stanley Cup playoff series is tied 1-1.
Stone, the fiery captain, had two goals and an assist in the final period, helping snap a 2-2 tie on Thursday night and energizing an announced crowd of 18,333 at T-Mobile Arena.
Brossoit, the goaltender who was waived early this season, made 16 of his 31 saves in a first period dominated by the Jets. He was the only reason the game was close, with Winnipeg leading 1-0 after 20 minutes.
“You don’t want to be dominated like that,” Brossoit, a former Jet, said of the opening period, “but it was nice to keep it at 1-0.”
Coach Bruce Cassidy praised Brossoit, saying his team got “outstanding goaltending.”
Brossoit’s effort allowed the Knights to compose themselves, to “find their game,” pardon the cliche.
The second period saw the Knights look like the team that won the West, using speed and more precise passing to attack, especially onthe rush.
William Karlsson, who was superb all over the ice, and Jack Eichel had second-period goals. Then Stone, who returned for Game 1 after being sidelined since Jan. 12 because of back surgery, took over in the final 20 minutes.
He drew an assist on Chandler Stephenson’s goal that snapped the 2-2 deadlock at 5:37 of the third. Then he made it 4-2, cashing in on a pretty three-way passing that included Stephenson and Brett Howden.
Stone finally closed out the Jets’ chances of going up 2-0 in the series with a wicked wrist shot that beat Connor Hellebucyk at 17:30, with Karlsson and Phil Kessel drawing assists.
“It’s one game, right,” said Stone, who was admittedly rusty in Game 1, a 5-1 loss on Tuesday. “Now we got to be ready for Game 3.”
The series moves to Winnipeg on Saturday for an afternoon game.
Adam Lowry and Kevin Stenlund scored for Winnipeg, which looked overmatched in the third.
“It was time to clean some things up, and we did,” Cassidy said of his team’s play after the first period. “A lot of it was puck management.”
The Jets were limited to six shots in the final period, 33 overall. The Knights countered with 39 shots, including 19 in the second period. In Game 1, the Knights had 17 shots on goal overall.
“They were the better team tonight,” Jets coach Rick Bowness told nhl.com. “They deserved to win that game, there’s no question. Did we make it too easy on them? Yeah, we did. The most disappointing thing was the execution.
“Giving up the goals that we gave up. The way we gave them up, that’s disappointing. We’ll fix it and get ready for Saturday.”
Eichel said he thought the Knights deserved some credit for being more dogged, more persistent than in the opener. “I thought we stuck to our game,” said the centerman playing in his first NHL postseason and whose goal marked his first in Stanley Cup play. “There’s a lot there we can build on.”