Jets fall to Knights while attendance slumps at whiteout street party

After riding a three-goal outburst to victory Saturday, the Winnipeg Jets ran into a bout of bad luck on Monday against the Las Vegas Golden Knights.
A Las Vegas Golden Knights fan celebrates a goal by his team in a crowd of glum-looking Jets fans . (Trevor Hagan/Canadian Press)

It just wasn't their Knight.

After riding a three-goal outburst to victory Saturday, the Winnipeg Jets ran into a bout of bad luck on Monday against the Las Vegas Golden Knights.

They fell 3-1 to Vegas in Game 2, knotting the NHL's best-of-seven Western Conference Final at one game apiece.

The series now shifts to T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas for Game 3 on Wednesday and Game 4 on Friday.

Unable to find much to cheer about from the play of their team, fans had to be prompted by the Jumbotron to "Make some noise."

The Jets were clumsy and careless, left scrambling far too many times after coughing up the puck or giving it away to Vegas on a sloppy pass or clearing attempt.

The bounces just didn't go the Jets' way, said Daryl, left, and John Capstick. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)

They couldn't seem to finish plays or catch any breaks, fanning on one-timers or running out of space to shoot on the rare occasion they did have a clear lane to Golden Knights' goalie Marc-André Fleury.

"It's upsetting. It wasn't their night," said fan John Capstick, who initially didn't even want to talk about the loss.

"They played hard and they had chances but just weren't getting the bounces. The puck would hit a stick or a skate or whatever, just not go their way. That's what it was all night."

Daryl Capstick was more willing to chat about the game and was keeping the faith about the Jets' fortunes.

Paul Maurice post-game interview

5 years ago
Duration 2:42
Jets head coach on 3-1 loss to Las Vegas Golden Knights.

"[They made] cute plays when they should have just dumped the puck in or made the right freeze and pass. But oh well, now that the Jets realize Vegas is a good team and they're someone to contend with, it'll be a hard-fought series," he said.

The game actually started out strong for the Jets, who came out fast and with a lot of finesse. They fired 10 shots at Fleury in the first nine minutes and had some golden chances.

Then their engines sputtered while Vegas cranked it up.

The Knights outshot the Jets 8-0 during a stretch that led to two goals four minutes apart and nearly a third five seconds later. The puck went off the post and crossed behind Jets' goalie Connor Hellebuyck before sailing past the other post and clear of the net.

It took Winnipeg another 31 minutes — the remainder of the first and the entire second period — to notch just nine more shots.

We're gonna take the series in six [games]. One more Vegas, they'll win the second home game but after that it's all us.- Jets fan Jean-Guy Roy

The crowd was reignited, briefly, in the third when Kyle Connor brought the Jets within one goal. But the deadly silence returned 88 seconds later when Jonathan Marchessault restored Vegas' two goal cusion.

"I was not impressed with Vegas' play at all. I didn't think that they had us at any point in the game but they were getting the bounces," said fan Jean-Guy Roy.

"That third goal, it was a bad play by [Josh] Morrissey, yeah. He should have just stayed on his feet but you know what? If his stick gets that puck we're all praising him, right?"

The Jets' defender dove to poke check the Knights' Reilly Smith who was on a rush with Marchessault. Morrissey's attempt missed and that left Marchessault alone in front of Hellebuyck.

Smith slid the puck over and Marchessault made it count.

No big deal, said Roy.

"We're gonna take the series in six [games]. One more Vegas, they'll win the second home game but after that it's all us."

Where's the party?

Are people getting tired of the whiteout street party?

Despite a capacity for 27,000 and the temperature still being a toasty 15 C at 9:30 p.m., just 11,000 party-goers showed up Monday, according to Economic Development Winnipeg, which organizes the event.

That follows a crowd of 15,000 at Saturday's party, when the organizers were expecting the biggest yet.

There was a lot more room to move in the street party on Monday with a crowd of 11,000, far below the capacity of 27,000. (Trevor Hagan/Canadian Press)

The party crowd hit 21,000 during Game 6 of the Round 2 series against Nashville after growing every home game. That prompted organizers to try controlling attendance at 27,000 by issuing first-come, first-served free tickets.

Instead of increasing, the attendance has dropped ever since.


  • Jets are 8-1 in the playoffs when scoring first and 1-4 when they don't.
  • Their lone win when not scoring the first goal was in Game 3 of Round 2 against Nashville when the Jets erased a 3-0 first period deficit and went on to win 7-4.
  • The Jets lead the NHL in the playoffs with 18 third-period goals in the playoffs.
  • The Jets had 33 hits in Game 1 against the Golden Knights — the most in a game since the first round against the Minnesota Wild. During that series, they had 39 hits in Game 1 and 38 in Game 2. In all, the Jets have had 30 hits or more in five playoff games.


Darren Bernhardt spent the first dozen years of his journalism career in newspapers, at the Regina Leader-Post then the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. He has been with CBC Manitoba since 2009 and specializes in offbeat and local history stories. He is the author of award-nominated and bestselling The Lesser Known: A History of Oddities from the Heart of the Continent.