WINNIPEG – The Vegas Golden Knights are going to the Stanley Cup Final — with a chip on their shoulder.
"Everybody on this team has something to prove," Ryan Reaves said. "We call ourselves the Golden Misfits for a reason. We're doing a good job of proving everybody wrong."
Reaves scored the winning goal, Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves and the Golden Knights beat the Winnipeg Jets 2-1 on Sunday, ending the Western Conference finals in five games.
"It's insane," said defenseman Deryk Engelland, who celebrated with the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl after the final buzzer. "Your goal is always to make the playoffs. But if I were to guess I would be sitting here doing this right now, you would be a little skeptical at the time."
Alex Tuch also scored for the Knights. They lost Game 1 in Winnipeg before winning four straight to become the first expansion team since the 1968 St. Louis Blues — when the six initial expansion teams were put alone in the West — to get to the final.
"It was their time," Winnipeg captain Blake Wheeler said. "They're just playing really well."
Vegas will meet Tampa Bay or Washington in the final.
Josh Morrissey scored for the Jets, and Connor Hellebuyck made 30 saves. "It's very difficult to find that positive feeling at this moment," Jets coach Paul Maurice said.
Reaves, the bruising Winnipeg native acquired from Pittsburgh before the trade deadline in February, broke a 1-1 tie with 6:39 left in the second period when he tipped Luca Sbisa's point shot past Hellebuyck. Reeves' last goal before Sunday came 3½ months ago while with Pittsburgh.
"The guys that weren't playing, myself included, we stayed ready," Reaves said. "We had fun while we were doing it, but we worked hard."
Fleury stopped 151 of 161 shots in the series. He allowed six goals the rest of the way after giving up four in the opener.
Winnipeg got a power play early in the third but couldn't muster much of anything. The Knights smothered much of the Jets' attack for the next 10 minutes, with Hellebuyck making big stops on William Karlsson and Erik Haula to keep his team within one.