Wild’s Collapse Leads to a 2-1 Series Lead for Golden Knights

The Minnesota Wild have dropped Game 3 of the series versus the Vegas Golden Knights by a score of 5-2. This game saw the Wild start off exceptionally well and quickly saw it evaporate as time went on. This game was high scoring, which is the exact opposite of Game 1.

There’s a lot to digest in this game, so let’s break Game 3 down period by period for the Wild.

1st Period

The Wild’s first home game of the season got out to a rocking start. The team came flying out of the gate and looked to pounce on the Golden Knights early, and they succeeded. With just over two minutes played in the game, Kaprizov made a beautiful pass across the slot to Ryan Hartman, who buried the puck into the net to give the Wild an early 1-0 lead.

Joel Eriksson Ek then extended the lead to 2-0 with 11:30 left in the period by finding a loose puck in front of the net and firing a quick snapshot. In less than 10 minutes of hockey, the Wild had already built up a multi-goal lead.

Kevin Fiala Cam Talbot Ryan Suter Joel Eriksson Ek Kirill Kaprizov Minnesota Wild
Kevin Fiala, Cam Talbot, Ryan Suter, Joel Eriksson Ek and Kirill Kaprizov, Minnesota Wild (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

Eriksson Ek actually scored another goal with just under seven minutes to go in the period to make it a 3-0 game; however, the goal was overturned due to a missed offside call. Still, though, the Wild must have been feeling pretty good about leaving the first period up 2-0 and outshooting Vegas 7-4.

2nd Period

This one didn’t go nearly as well as the first period, and it wasn’t even close. The Golden Knights came out and dominated the Wild in every aspect of the game. Kevin Fiala had the best chance for the Wild in the period just over a minute in on a breakaway but failed to get a shot off, and Marc Andre Fleury stopped him on a second chance opportunity.

The Golden Knights got their first goal off the rush as Mark Stone was left alone in the slot and was able to snipe one past Talbot on the team’s 9th shot.

That clearly woke up the Golden Knights, as they looked determined to tie the game up after that. At 11:20 left in the period, the Golden Knights had nine shots, but by 4:50 remaining, they had 22.

A few seconds later, with 4:41 remaining in the period, Holden shot from the point misses wide but ends up right in front for Patrick Brown to bury into the net and tie the game at two. Just minutes later, Riley Smith puts home a rebound that Cam Talbot tried to glove but couldn’t hold onto, and the puck fell right down in front of the net. In a blink of an eye, the Wild head into the 2nd Intermission down 3-2.

3rd Period

The Wild would have loved to put that second period behind them, a period in which they were outshot a staggering 22-5, but sadly they couldn’t. They still couldn’t find an answer for the pressure that Vegas was putting on them and managed only four shots on net in the final frame.

The Golden Knights didn’t slow down and scored one more past Talbot in the period, with Stone adding an empty-net goal to secure the Game 3 win for Vegas.

Vegas Golden Knights Mark Stone
Vegas Golden Knights Right Wing Mark Stone (Photo by Gerry Angus/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Wild didn’t obtain much pressure in the third. Not nearly as much as you would expect from a trailing team, at least. They did have one shot that almost beat Fleury, however, the Golden Knights goaltender has been dynamite all series, and this game was no different.

Series Outlook

The Wild have to be disappointed with the result in Game 3. If you had told them going into the game that after one period of play, they would be up 1-0, they would have been thrilled. The final 40 minutes were just a completely different game, and they looked utterly outmatched for the first time in the series. It was the type of collapse that can be a real turning point in a series; for which team is the question.

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Forward Marcus Johansson also went down with an injury in this game, and it has since been confirmed that he has a broken arm. With him clearly going to be missing time, it’s possible we see Zach Parise make his series debut in Game 4.

After splitting the first two games in Vegas, the Wild had a golden opportunity, on home ice, to take a 2-1 series lead. Instead, they will now try to prevent the Golden Knights from taking a 3-1 series stranglehold on Saturday night.

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