If you replay that game, nine times out of ten you probably win. -Pete DeBoer
Unfortunately for the Golden Knights, the one out of ten was last night, and now they have to go back to Minnesota to take a second crack at ending the Wild’s season.
Vegas won every measurable stat in Game 5 aside from the only one that counts, goals. They outshot the Wild 39-14, out-chanced them 37-16, and racked up 77% of the game’s high danger chances at 17-5.
It was the 1st period that did the Golden Knights in. Marc-Andre Fleury, who came in having allowed just four goals on 116 shots, allowed three on seven shots in the 1st. Meanwhile, Vegas generated very little on the other end, scoring once on a familiar-looking neutral zone chip in, but were limited to just two of their 17 high-danger chances.
1st period woes are becoming a bit of a trend as the Golden Knights now trail 5-2 in the opening frame while outscoring Minnesota 12-3 following the first intermission.
There have been some good 1st periods, some bad ones, and then there was Game 5’s, which was somewhere in between. Vegas didn’t play poorly but succumbed to what head coach Pete DeBoer called “an opportunistic” Wild team. Alternate captain, Reilly Smith, saw it a bit differently.
I think we just have to be a little smarter and have a little bit more urgency with the puck in the 1st period. I really don’t think it’s anything they did, it’s self-inflicted wounds. -Reilly Smith
Smith’s right about the last part, self-inflicted wounds. The Golden Knights made critical mistakes on all three of the Wild’s 1st period goals.