Thursday, April 20, 2023 | 9:59 p.m.
It had been three months since the last time Mark Stone acted like he won the lottery.
With the third period he had, who could blame him?
The Golden Knights’ captain had two goals and an assist in the third period, his first points since returning from back surgery, and Vegas defeated the Winnipeg Jets 5-2 in Game 2 of their first-round series to even it at a game apiece.
Stone had a secondary assist on Chandler Stephenson’s go-ahead goal at 5:37 of the third, then scored on a feed from Stephenson at 13:01 to extend the lead to two. His second goal came with 2:30 left
Alex Pietrangelo joined Stone and Stephenson with two points, and Jack Eichel scored his first Stanley Cup Playoff goal for the Golden Knights in their bounceback effort following Tuesday’s 5-1 loss in Game 1. William Karlsson scored for the second straight game, as well.
Laurent Brossoit made 31 saves for Vegas, who now head to Winnipeg for Game 3 on Saturday (1 p.m., ATTSN-RM).
The Golden Knights had four penalties in the first period, including roughing calls on Nicolas Roy and Alex Pietrangelo in a 15-second span. Winnipeg, however, couldn’t score on the ensuing 4-on-3 and created the momentum that was lost following Adam Lowry’s power-play goal at 9:18 that opened the scoring.
Vegas needed to respond with its best period of the series to show it had some life. That’s what happened.
The Golden Knights outshot the Jets 20-10 in the middle frame and were once again sparked by a goal from Karlsson, who tied it at 5:54 when he secured a loose puck and roofed it over Hellebuyck’s left shoulder.
That goal woke Vegas up and its forechecking started taking over. Every puck battle the Golden Knights couldn’t win in Game 1, they started to in Game 2. Every loose puck that kicked off a skate or stick that they couldn’t corral started to land at the right spots.
No moment showed that more at 10:25 when Eichel deflected a Pietrangelo shot from the point to beat Hellebuyck for his first Stanley Cup Playoff goal, and the Golden Knights’ first lead of the series at 2-1. The play started with Michael Amadio and Jonathan Marchessault keeping the play alive behind the Winnipeg net long enough to feed the puck to Pietrangelo for his attempt.
Winnipeg got a fourth-line goal from Kevin Stenlund at 16:01 of the second to tie it 2-2, until the Stephenson-Stone combo got to work.
Things seemed bleak for the Golden Knights early. Even with three power plays in the first period, and each looking better than the three in Game 1, it didn’t look like the Golden Knights could solve the Jets again.
But the top seed in the West is very much alive, with the captain leading the charge.
This is a developing story. Check back later for updates.