LAS VEGAS - Before Game 3 of the Western Conference final, the scoreboard's video screen showed a social media post from a fan who offered that while the expansion Vegas Golden Knights didn't invent home ice advantage, they surely have perfected it.
The Golden Knights showed there was truth in that statement by taking their showmanship to another level at T-Mobile Arena and turning in a workmanlike performance on the ice to down the Winnipeg Jets 4-2 and claim a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Vegas is 5-1 at home during these playoffs and has outscored the opposition 22-10.
Showgirls. Multiple Elvis impersonators. Free tattoos of the Golden Knights logo. A laser-enhanced show on the ice before the game. Their Golden Knight slices a digital jet in half with his sword. Music played at the highest decibel level.
Only in Las Vegas.
The Golden Knights continue to rally around the truth that no one believed in their ability at the start of the season. Before their first home game in the Western Conference final, they featured a quote on the ice by elite Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, saying: "There's no way they are going to be better than us by the end of the season."
Do you think he regrets saying that now? Undoubtedly, bookmakers are regretting that they started the Vegas Golden Knights at 500/1 odds to win the Stanley Cup. They are now only two wins short of advancing to the Stanley Cup Final.
Another message on the scoreboard during the flashy pregame show: "Welcome to the Impossible."
When you show up at McCarran Airport, the Starbucks has a digital sign that reads "Go Knights Go." The Uber driver talks about the Knights, saying the city finally has something other than gambling and shows that everyone is talking about. Local news stations tease the news with a Golden Knights lead-in.
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A woman in the stands is shown on the video screen and she's holding a sign that reads: "I'm from Italy and I cheer for the Vegas Golden Knights."
In their first home game of the Western Conference final, the Golden Knights needed only 35 seconds to claim a 1-0 lead on Jonathan Marchessault's seventh goal of the postseason. He outraced falling Winnipeg defenseman Jacob Trouba to a puck inside the Winnipeg blue line.
Breakaway. Deke. Score. Building erupts. You have to witness a Golden Knights game to truly appreciate its uniqueness. The Golden Knights play with speed and fans respond with passion and some of the loudest cheering you've ever heard.
"Every game they are so loud," Marchessault, who later scored an empty-net goal, said of the fans. "The atmosphere is amazing. I don't think there's a better place to play."
In the second period, Winnipeg's dominant center Mark Scheifele scores at 5:28 to tie the game. But 12 seconds later Vegas forward Erik Haula intercepts a poor clearing attempt by Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck and immediately centers the puck.
James Neal fires the puck into a half-empty net and the Jets regain the lead.
When the Golden Knights were tested, they responded. Immediately. That's been their way all season. That's why they have been the most successful expansion team in NHL history.