The Minnesota Wild and Vegas Golden Knights, both coming off of losses the previous night before met up in a highly contested battle out west. Minnesota was able to edge the Knights in a shootout, winning 3-2.
Within the first five minutes of the game William Karlsson netted his 10th goal of the season, sending a wrist shot from inside the face-off circle that found its way past Cam Talbot to open the scoring. The Vegas lead would last into the middle of the first frame, until rookie sensation Krill Kaprizov redirected a puck to beat Robin Lehner to even the score at 1-1. The tally was Kaprizov’s 13th of the year. The score would remain knotted up headed to intermission, as the two teams played tight defense in front of their net-minders. Eight blocked shots for Minnesota paired with seven blocked shots for Vegas made an obvious impact in the first period, as passing lanes and openings to the net were taken away.
Defense stayed consistent in a tense middle frame, as the teams remained tied at 1-1 heading into the third period. Golden Knights defenseman Brayden McNabb made his presence felt as he laid multiple hits on Kaprizov in the defensive zone. Knights goaltender Robin Lehner controlled the crease stopping a challenging barrage of 16 shots. The defensive prowous for Vegas resulted in stellar offensive chances. Yet, the Golden Knights would run into a staunch wall between the pipes for Minnesota. Talbot made multiple difficult saves to keep the Knights away from the lead and the game level. Vegas was 0-5 on odd man rushes inside the second period, as Talbot made multiple highlight reel saves. Including back-to-back robberies of Keegan Kolesar, one with the glove and then another with the stick.
McNabb’s momentum from the defensive side of the puck transferred over to the offensive side of the puck, as he scored his first goal of the season 1:39 into the third period. The physicality remained steady, as Golden Knights captian Mark Stone flattened Jonas Brodin, this created a sequence of chippiness after plays would end. Behind the Vegas net, Kyle Rau and Nicolas Hague pushed and shoved each other repeatedly resulting in a penalty to each. The four on four competition would not last long, as Vegas took another penalty as Karlsson hooked Joel Eriksson Ek. This would lead to a Jared Spurgeon one-timer blast from the circle to tie the game at two.
This would hold into overtime.
Unfortunately for Vegas, when head coach Peter DeBore looks back on the waning minutes of the third period and a major portion of the overtime period. He will have to watch the two missed opportunities to put the game away on the powerplay. Vegas finished the game 0-4 on the powerplay, being unable to score with the advantage in crunch time spilled this game into a shootout.
Minnesota’s Kevin Fiala was the only player to score in the entire shootout, as his shot barely squeaked behind Lenher. Vegas’s shooters Jonathan Marchessualt, Shea Theodore and Alex Tuch were all blanked as the Wild walked away victorious in game one of a two-game set.
The Wild now moved to 22-11-2 on the season and doing so has dropped the Knights to 24-9-2. Game two will be Saturday night back at T-Mobile Arena.