The Vegas Golden Knights and the Minnesota Wild squared off in the first round of the 2021 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs with game one at T-Mobile Arena on the Las Vegas strip. Marc Andre Fleury got the start in goal and made history in the process becoming the first goaltender to start 15 consecutive postseasons in net.
Max Pacioretty who was deemed as a game-time decision by Vegas head coach Pete Deboer was officially ruled out but Ryan Reaves and Alec Martinez made their return to the lineup. The first period got off to a physical start and the Wild paid for it taking the first penalty of the game when Matt Dumba took the game's first penalty for delay of game shooting the puck out of the rink.
Despite the Golden Knights did a good job on the man advantage the Wild were able to kill off the penalty and had their first couple of dangerous scoring chances on net. Fleury made his first big save on Matts Zuccarello who had a wide-open shot but it went right into his chest.
William Karlsson thought he had Vegas' first goal when he forced a turnover off Nick Bonino with eight minutes left in the first period and went in on Cam Talbot who got the start for Minnesota but he would make the save.
The Wild took their second penalty of the game with 1:22 left in the first period when Kevin Fiala got called for slashing and gave the home team another chance to work on the man advantage.
The Knights did a good job once again controlling the play and getting some great chances on net but still couldn't solve Talbot and the first period ended with the score tied at 0-0.
The Golden Knights started the second period on the powerplay and they went back to work after outshooting the visitors 20-5 in the first period but the Wild was able to kill it off.
The Wild started to get back in the game and pressuring the Vegas defenseman and then Fleury robbed Ryan Hartman who got a good shot close in front. With five minutes left in the second period and Minnesota pressing again, Fleury came up with another brilliant glove save on Nick Bjugstad.
With 30 seconds left in the second period, Vegas took its first penalty of the game when Alex Pietrangelo got called for tripping giving the Wild its first chance on the powerplay.
Both teams went into the locker room after 40 minutes of play deadlocked at zero with one more period to go. The Knights spent the first couple minutes of the third killing the penalty and managed to keep the Wild off the scoresheet.
Marc Andre Fleury robbed Kiril Kaprizov and was keeping his team in the game and denying the visitors a chance to score. Mark Stone had a great chance to score the opening goal a couple of minutes later literally dekeing out the five Minnesota players on the ice.
On the ensuing play, Vegas went back on the powerplay when Dumba took his second penalty of the game for hooking. The Knights managed to kill the penalty and continued to push with less than 10 minutes left in regulation.
With less than a minute left in regulation, Jonathan Marchessault thought he beat Talbot 5 hole but the puck didn't go through thus sending the game into overtime for the first time in the series.
A little NHL history was made with Vegas Minnesota heading to extra time it was the first time three straight NHL playoff games would be decided in the extra frame.
The Golden Knights didn't get the start they wanted in overtime as a couple of minutes in Marchessault was called for hooking and the Wild had a chance to end it on the powerplay.
The Wild would end the game just as the powerplay expired when Joel Eriksson Ek got a great shot in front that beat Fleury 5 hole to take a 1-0 win and a 1-0 lead in the series.
After the game, DeBoer gave his thoughts on the game albeit in a positive manner, and outlined what needs to be done to get back in the series.
" Just keep pushing, I thought we had enough good looks tonight to score a couple of goals so it's not like they smothered us defensively, I thought they're a very good defensive team and have been for a long time and it's going to be tough to score and we knew that coming in and with Patch ( Max Pacioretty) out of the lineup we have to have other guys finish off some of those chances".
A disappointed Mark Stone spoke about the loss and the fact they weren't able to even score once.
" Ya it's tough, I thought we played a pretty good game to start in the first 25-30 minutes really well, it's a 1-0 game in overtime and we need to find a way to score goals".
Game two of the series is set for Tuesday night at the Fortress and the Golden Knights will have a chance to even the series.