By Judy Owen, The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — Michael Amadio will have to watch his game-winning playoff goal on film because he can’t remember seeing the puck go in the net.
The Vegas forward scored his first career playoff goal 3:40 into the second overtime period to lift the Golden Knights to a 5-4 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday that gave them a 2-1 lead in their first-round playoff series.
“It is something that I will remember forever for sure,” said Amadio, a Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., native playing in his fourth career playoff game after starting his NHL career with the Los Angeles Kings in 2017.
“I kind of didn’t even see it go in. I just kind of put it on net and then I heard all the guys on the ice start screaming and that was when I knew.”
The goal came after a clearing attempt by Jets defenceman Dylan Samberg failed. The puck went off Vegas forward Ivan Barbashev’s leg to Amadio in the slot and he sent it past goalie Connor Hellebuyck.
Jets head coach Rick Bowness said he talked to Samberg after the game.
“You get in those situations and the puck takes a bounce off a skate or a stick and it goes to them. That’s usually how overtime games are ended,” Bowness said. “I talked to him right away. He’s a big part of why we’re here. We’ll keep playing him.”
Jack Eichel fired in a pair of power-play goals and added an assist for Vegas. Chandler Stephenson had a goal and one assist and Keegan Kolesar also scored. Alex Pietrangelo contributed a pair of assists.
Laurent Brossoit, who spent three seasons playing for the Jets, made 30 saves.
The loss had extra sting after the Jets clawed back from a three-goal deficit.
Jets centre Adam Lowry tied the game 4-4 with 21.9 seconds remaining in regulation when he used a rebound to beat Brossoit. Lowry extended his series goal streak to four in three games.
Winnipeg went into the third period down 4-1, but goals by Nino Niederreiter at 2:04 and Mark Scheifele on the power play with under six minutes remaining closed the gap to 4-3 and had fans roaring for a comeback.
“He is definitely a big leader,” Niederreiter said of Lowry. “He takes care of business, goes out there and leaves it all out there every single night. Good things happen to good people, and that’s why he’s out there.”
Kyle Connor notched a goal and one assist, and defenceman Neal Pionk had three helpers for Winnipeg.
Connor Hellebuyck stopped 43 shots for the eighth-seeded Jets, who had won the first game in Vegas 5-1 last Tuesday before losing 5-2 on Thursday.
A sold-out crowd of 15,325 at Canada Life Centre continued the “whiteout” playoff tradition of wearing white and waving white towels. Game 4 of the Western Conference best-of-seven clash goes Monday.
Winnipeg was minus a key player when all-star defenceman Josh Morrisey left the game four minutes into the first period with a lower-body injury after a knee-on-knee collision with Vegas forward Zach Whitecloud.
Bowness told reporters after the game that Morrissey won’t play the rest of the series because of a lower-body injury. He gave no more details.
Eichel said giving up three goals in the third wasn’t great, but it’s the ending that counts.
“Give them credit, they had a good push in the third,” he said of the Jets. “But coming in after the third before the first overtime, we had a lot of confidence in the room.”
The Golden Knights led 2-1 after an opening period that featured big hits and trips to the penalty box.
Vegas scored on its first two shots of the game.
Stephenson beat Hellebuyck with a low blast during four-on-four play at 2:52.
Jets defenceman Brenden Dillon and Kolesar were already in the penalty box for fighting 49 seconds into the game.
Kolesar returned to the box with Winnipeg centre Pierre-Luc Dubois for roughing, along with the Jets Scheifele for slashing Brossoit, at 5:09.
Eichel, who’s competing in his first playoffs, used a one-timer on the power play to make it 2-0 at 6:18.
Connor closed the gap to one after tipping in a Dylan DeMelo shot at 9:07.
Eichel tallied his second one-timer goal, and third marker of the series, on the power play at 10:46. Kolesar put a rebound past Hellebuyck with 2:15 remaining.
Niederreiter’s high shot went by Brossoit at 2:04 to make it 4-2. Scheifele recorded his first goal of the playoffs when he used Whitecloud as a screen and fired a high shot by Brossoit at 14:08.
Hellebuyck left the net for the extra attacker and Lowry got the equalizer at 19:38 to send it to overtime.
Vegas got six shots on goal in the first overtime. Winnipeg had five, including Dubois hitting the post.
NO FLY ZONE
Speedy Jets forward Nikolaj Ehlers missed a third straight playoff game.
Winnipeg head coach Rick Bowness told media before Saturday’s game that Ehlers hasn’t received medical clearance to play.
Ehlers was injured in an April 11 regular-season game against Minnesota when Wild forward Ryan Hartman hit the winger nicknamed “Fly” when he didn’t have the puck.
Ehlers cleared concussion protocol but missed the team’s final regular-season game. He practised with the team last week, but is still out with an upper-body injury.