Las Vegas – The Vegas Golden Knights honored defenseman Alex Pietrangelo for 1,000 career games played before Monday’s game against the Minnesota Wild. The Knight-Tron played messages from former coach Craig Berube and former teammates David Backes and Jay Bouwmeester congratulating Pietrangelo on his accomplishment. Mark Stone and Bruce Cassidy also recorded messages that played in T-Mobile Arena before the game.
General manager Kelly McCrimmon presented Pietrangelo with a golden hockey stick to commemorate the evening.
The Golden Knights used the positive energy from Pietrangelo’s ceremony to score an early goal. Jonathan Marchessault attempted a centering pass that deflected off a Wild defenseman and over goaltender Filip Gustavsson.
A series of three penalties in 1:50 by the Golden Knights opened the door for the Wild. Sheldon Rempal received a holding penalty, the Golden Knights received a bench minor for too many men on the ice, and Brayden McNabb took a poor penalty after the whistle when he punched a Wild player.
Joel Eriksson Ek and Mats Zuccarello converted during the power play.
The Golden Knights converted on a powerplay of their own. Nice puck movement by the powerplay unit and a well-placed shot by Michael Amadio tied the game.
The teams went into the first intermission tied at two after a high-event first period.
The game went from a high-event first period to a no-event second period. The Golden Knights failed to capitalize on three straight powerplays. Outside of the powerplays, the teams did not have many high-danger chances. Neither team seems to have found their game.
The Wild scored a couple of fluky goals in the third period. Marco Rossi found a loose puck that Hill thought he had covered to give the Wild a 3-2 lead. Just over one minute later, Matt Boldy scored from the side of the net by deflecting a shot off the side of Hill to give the Wild a 4-3 lead.
The energy was sucked out of T-Mobile Arena until Mark Stone brought the crowd back into it with a slapshot from the right circle. Credit Stephenson for setting a screen on Gustavsson.
The Golden Knights failed to convert with the extra skater. Pietrangelo was knocked down at center ice and turned the puck over. Eriksson Ek scored on the empty net to cement the Wild’s 5-3 victory over the Golden Knights.
Pietrangelo’s main takeaway from the game was the loss.
“That we lost, I like winning.” Pietrangelo when asked what he will remember about the game. “Personally having my family on the ice was a pretty special thing. It’s been a crazy year in my life, especially with everything in my life. I’m blessed to have a special family.”
Stone started his press availability by discussing Pietrangelo.
“Still an awesome night for him and his family.” Stone on Pietrangelo’milestone. “Amazing achievement, first guy to do it wearing this jersey. Whether it was a win or a loss, you don’t want to take away how special it was for not only him and his family but all of us.”
Coach Bruce Cassidy was critical of the Golden Knights’ mismanaging of pucks and missed opportunities.
“Again, it’s puck management for me.” Cassidy on what went wrong in the loss. “I think when we get into trouble, that’s when things unravel for us.”
Coach Cassidy felt the powerplay was pretty good, but there was also a missed opportunity.
“I thought we had a good powerplay.” Cassidy on the powerplay. “We missed a wide-open net from our leading goal scorer. So that happens sometimes, if that goes in it might change the momentum of the game.”
Coach Cassidy stopped himself short of saying the Golden Knights self-destructed.
“I don’t want to say we self-destructed.” Cassidy on the Wild’s goals. “I don’t know if they really earned them, I think they were gifts, to be honest.”