Wild Outlast Golden Knights in Overtime to Take Game One

  • May 16, 2021, 07:59 PM
  • Matt Atencio
Wild Outlast Golden Knights in Overtime to Take Game One Courtesy: L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review Journal
The hits get harder, the shots get tougher, and the saves get bigger. No other words can describe the intensity and heart-racing action that is playoff hockey.

Sunday afternoon’s game turned into a goaltending battle that saw the teams go into overtime locked at 0-0.  Unfortunately, it was the Wild who broke that tie, knocking off the Golden Knights 1-0.

"I thought we outplayed them for a majority of the period,” Mark Stone said. “We have to find ways to score. It’s not just finding those dirty areas.  You’ve got to make plays.”

Neither team found the back of the net during the first period.  Through the early going, the teams played relatively even.  Towards the midway point, the Golden Knights took over.  They ended the period outshooting the Wild 19-5 but came away empty.  The shots would have been even more lopsided, but the Wild blocked 11 shots (to Vegas’ one) in the first period alone. 

Marc-Andre Fleury did not get asked to do much.  However as he did during the regular season, he came up with some timely saves.  One of which came off a blast from Mats Zuccarello early in the first period.   

While Cam Talbot played well during the game, he was not tested much.  The Golden Knights settled for a lot of mediocre shot attempts.  The ones that got through, Talbot was able to see and handle with ease. 

"I thought we had a lot of good looks to score tonight,” Head Coach Pete DeBoer said.  “I think us coming out of the first period with the pressure we had and nothing to show for it was the most disappointing.”

The Wild appeared to wake up in the second period.  While they did not score in the period, they were able to get to the front of the net and generate some high-danger chances on Fleury.  However, the Vegas netminder showcased why he is being considered for the Vezina Trophy and kept the Wild off the board.

The Knight’s offensive attack did not generate much in the period.  While they had 11 shots on the net, none of them were high-danger.  The Wild did a fantastic job once again of getting into shot lanes, blocking shots, and not allowing any rebound opportunities. 

As with the previous two periods, neither team was able to find the back of the net.  However, it was not from a lack of trying.  Fleury once again came up with some spectacular saves, including one on Kirill Kaprizov, to give the Golden Knights a chance.  

The Golden Knights managed some decent chances in the period, but once again were unable to generate some prime scoring opportunities.  Talbot made sure every shot stayed out and did not allow any big rebounds for Vegas to capitalize on.  

Sudden death hockey is one of the most stressful parts of playoff hockey.  For VGK fans, it ended in heartbreak.  Early into the extra frame, Jonathan Marchessault took a hooking penalty, putting Minnesota on the man advantage. 

While they did kill it off, an awful turnover from Alex Pietrangelo behind the net found its way onto the stick of Joel Eriksson EK alone in front of the net.  Eriksson EK buried the chance to give the Wild a 1-0 victory.  

For the Golden Knights, the loss reinforces an old narrative that showed up in the last postseason.  They control the game, get pucks to the net, but are unable to capitalize on their opportunities.  They then make one mistake, and it kills them.  Sure enough, that is what happened tonight. 

Fortunately for Vegas, they have an opportunity to “right the wrong” on Tuesday night in a pivotal game they must win.  Puck drop for game two will be at 7 P.M. PST on NBCSN.

Matt Atencio

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