This is the start of the Western Conference Finals and should be in for a long, and very entertaining series. Vegas has been impressive all season and are now in the conference finals in their first ever season. You could call that a successful season right now, but no signs they are slowing down. The Jets are coming off a Game 7 win and looking to start the series off strong on home ice.

Game Play Predictions

Vegas Golden Knights

-          The Knights haven’t played a game since last Sunday, so there is potential they come out a bit “slow” as we often see with teams on extra rest.

-          Vegas had two shutouts in the second round, along with another two in the first round. Both their goalie, Fleury, and their entire defense has been on top of their game.

-          Reilly Smith leads the team with 11 points, 10 of which come from assists. He is set to continue his production, as he is on the first forward line and the first power-play unit.

-          Alex Tuch is tied for the team lead with four goals, yet he is seeing time on the third forward line. He has been up on the first power-play unit, so the upside is there for him to continue scoring.

-          The Golden Knights scored three or more goals in five of the six games in the second round.

Players to Watch

Marc-Andre Fleury – Holy cow, has Fleury been great this postseason. He has four shutouts and has posted a .951 save percentage. This will be the toughest opponent he has faced, but with the defense in front of him, he can continue it.

Reilly Smith – As I mentioned above, Smith is leading the team with 10 assists, and has shown to be a key part of their offense. First forward line, first power-play, playing selfless to help put his teammates in great spots.

Shea Theodore – Theodore is tied at five points for the most of any defense on Vegas, but has taken the most shots of any defender with 23. Expect him to step up the shooting, as that is where the Jets have some difficulty stopping shots from.

Winnipeg Jets

-          The Jets scored three or more goals in five of the seven games in the second-round, a trend they carried right over their first series.

-          Mark Scheifele is a beast for the Jets, as he comes in with 11 goals. The next closest player for the Jets has only six goals.

-          The man getting the puck to Scheifele on all of those goals is Blake Wheeler, who has 12 assists, which is a team high.

-          The Jets love to shoot the puck, A LOT. They have seven players who have taken 25 or more shots in these playoffs. They will be the best offense Vegas has faced in the playoffs, so should be interesting to see how it plays out.

Players to Watch

Connor Hellebuyck – Hellebuyck has a .927 save percentage this postseason, which falls right in line with his regular season numbers. He allowed two or fewer goals in four of the seven games in the past series. He is going to be pivotal in this series if he can continue that level of play vs Vegas.

Mark Scheifele – As I mentioned above, Scheifele is simply crushing it right now. He is scoring goals at will, on the first forward line and first power-play. He also comes in with a faceoff win percentage sitting at 47%, allowing his team to always have a shot, especially in the offensive zone.

Dustin Byfuglien – Big Buff leads all Jets defenders with 13 points and 36 shots. He will continue to see time on the first power-play, giving him and the Jets plenty of chances to score.