The Vegas Golden Knights and Minnesota took part in a thrilling two-game series that featured two of the top teams in the NHL square off against one another.
Vegas, down offensive star Max Pacioretty for both games, would drop the first game Monday but managed to pull out a OT win on Wednesday.
Following the split, Vegas moves to 37-13-2 on the season and still atop the West Division with 76 points.
Minnesota moves to 52-33-14 with 71 points. They are one point behind the second-place Colorado Avalanche.
Minnesota completes ‘wild’ comeback to take down Knights in regulation for game one
Despite having two multi-goal leads over the Minnesota Wild, the Knights couldn’t withstand a furious comeback in the third and final period which saw Minnesota score three unanswered goals to give them a 6-5 win.
Jonas Brodin was the hero for Minnesota as he fired from near neutral ice with a little over one minute left in regulation to complete the comeback.
“That’s about as tough as they get, that kind of loss,” Vegas coach Peter DeBoer told ESPN. “It doesn’t happen very often. We’ve been pretty good in those situations in my time here.”
Vegas held leads of 4-2 and 5-3 at points in the game.
Two Knights’ defensemen Shea Theodore and Alec Martinez scored goals in the first period to put Vegas on the board as the teams traded blows.
After a goal from Nick Bonino, the speedy Alex Tuch once again beat the Wild up the ice and chipped a shot past Minnesota’s Cam Talbot to put Vegas up 3-2 concluding the first period.
Early in the second period, center Chandler Stephenson found himself on a fast break with captain Mark Stone trailing him.
Stephenson softly left the puck behind him for the trailing Stone who would finish the play to put Vegas up 4-2.
Bonino would score his second goal of the game on a power play to cut the deficit to one.
Vegas would score its fifth and final goal of the game late in the second period on a Jonathan Marchessault goal which was perfectly executed by forward William Karlsson and Martinez.
The three formed a triangle on a break up the ice with crisp passing that led to Marchessault’s 16th goal of the year.
Robin Lehner was the goalie in net for the Knights and he endured a rough outing against the relentless Minnesota attack.
Lehner stopped 26-of-32 shots allowing six goals.
Alex Pietrangelo saves the day in game two
Defensemen Alex Pietrangelo had perhaps his best moment as a member of the Golden Knights with the game-winning goal in OT to beat the Wild, 3-2.
The line shift on the ice for the play was Tuch, Marchessault and Pietrangelo.
Marchessault chopped a pass to Tuch who was flanking to the right.
Tuch would blitz towards the net before sweeping the puck across the ice to Pietrangelo, who snuck it past Minnesota’s Cam Talbot for the win.
“As you get up to the playoffs, everything becomes obviously more competitive,” Pietrangelo told ESPN. “I think this year, too, as teams start funneling more fans into the building, it creates that atmosphere again that really is fun to be a part of.”
Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury had his most impressive outing in recent games stopping 26-of-28 shots.
The two shots that did find the back of the net past him came from Minnesota’s explosive rookie Kirill Kaprizov, who scored the 25th and 26th goals of his fabulous rookie campaign.
Following a scoreless first period, Stephenson would score to put Vegas up 1-0 heading into the third period.
Kaprizov scored twice before forward Reilly Smith scored the game-tying goal on a power play.
The two-game series marks the final time Vegas and Minnesota will face off in the regular season. The wild bested Vegas in the series 5-3.
If the two teams were to meet once more in the postseason, fireworks would be sure to follow.
The Knights return home Friday, May 7, to take on the St. Louis Blues. Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m.