The Golden Knights turned to Marc-Andre Fleury for Game 1, and he absolutely delivered. He turned in arguably his best performance of the season, and it ended up taking an awful deflection to beat him in overtime in the 1-0 loss.
The game got out to a tight start as neither team was allowing much of anything in the early going.
The Golden Knights went to a power play after Matt Dumba was pressured by Keegan Kolesar and sent the puck over the glass for delay of game. The opportunity went by the wayside as the Wild defended the power play very well, holding Vegas to one shot.
The Golden Knights began to generate lots of opportunities, but Wild netminder Cam Talbot stood tall against a buzzing Vegas team through the first period.
Vegas went back to the power play late in the frame, but Talbot and the Wild were saved by the horn with 38 seconds left on the Vegas man advantage. The teams went to the locker rooms scoreless after the first.
The second period got started and the Wild were able to kill off the rest of the Vegas man advantage, although it was not a very easy task.
The Wild began to put some pressure on the Golden Knights and Fleury, and Fleury had to make a spectacular windmill glove save from an in-close shot early in the second.
The Golden Knights began to get some opportunities through the period, but Talbot continued to stand tall.
Fleury was once again called upon with around five minutes left in the period and had to make yet another stellar glove save.
The Golden Knights went down a man as Alex Pietrangelo tripped up Nico Sturm late in the period, but the teams once again went to the locker room scoreless.
Vegas was able to kill off the carry-over time as the third period got started, only allowing one shot while shorthanded.
The Wild had all the momentum and Fleury had to bail out his team. He absolutely robbed Kirill Kaprizov with his blocker, having to change direction ridiculously quickly.
The Golden Knights went back to the power play but the Wild were once again able to kill it off. The Knights finished the game 0-for-3 on the man advantage.
After the kill, Fleury continued to put on a show. He made two more great glove saves to keep the game scoreless.
In the final moments, Fleury did it again as he stoned a dashing Ryan Hartman, who at least six glorious scoring chances and was the most noticeable skater on the ice all game.
The teams could not solve either goaltender in regulation, so Game 1 headed to overtime.
The Golden Knights were sent to a penalty kill early as Jonathan Marchessault was whistled for hooking. Fleury made a few great saves on the penalty kill, and the Knights took care of business.
Seconds after the kill, however, Alex Pietrangelo turned the puck over from behind the net on a failed clear, and Minnesota took care of the rest.
Jordan Greenway collected the puck on the side wall, skated behind the net and through out a centering feed from behind the net, which Marcus Foligno tipped to the eventual goal-scorer, Joel Eriksson Ek. Eriksson Ek’s shot one deflected off Alec Martinez’s skate and got through Fleury to end the game.
Off Martinez's skate and through Fleury's five-hole for the winner. Man. pic.twitter.com/gBMvz1l1wB— Danny Webster (@DannyWebster21) May 16, 2021
This was an extremely unfortunate loss for the Golden Knights, as they wasted an absolutely stellar outing from Fleury in a game in which they were the better team for most of the afternoon.
Fleury became the first goalie in NHL history to appear in 15 straight postseasons, and he looked the part from the very beginning. He finished the game with 29 saves on 30 shots for a .967 save percentage.
Continued struggles on the power play plagued the Knights in a game of missed opportunity, and the team wasn’t able to solve Talbot, who made 42 saves to claim the 1-0 shutout. Max Pacioretty, who missed his seventh straight game, was sorely missed, even as Alex Tuch, Alec Martinez, Tomas Nosek and Ryan Reaves returned to the lineup.
Minnesota was able to stay in the game thanks to Talbot, and the Wild took advantage of the opportunity off the turnover to take the first game.
The Golden Knights will look to rebound in Game 2 on Tuesday.