Wild put up valiant Game 7 fight, but Golden Knights advance

The Wild just wouldn’t give up against the Golden Knights, including in Game 7. Eventually, Vegas overwhelmed its resilient opponent, and now the Golden Knights will face the Avalanche in a heavyweight Second Round series.

Key Golden Knights mattered in Vegas’ 6-2 Game 7 win, but Mattias Janmark also enjoyed a big night vs. the Wild. He ended up with a hat trick. Let’s go over the twists, turns, pretty goals, and nasty hits of Game 7.

Janmark puts Golden Knights up with beauty, but Parise answers

The first goal is a big deal in a Game 7 … most of the time. It ended up not being that big of a deal in Golden Knights – Wild Game 7, though.

Instead, Mattias Janmark’s icebreaker stands as just an absolute beauty. A real jaw-dropper for someone who’s never scored 20 goals (his career-high was 19, and second-best was 15). Being both willing and able to make a move like this in a Game 7 is a testament to the sheer hockey talent on hand, even when you don’t always see it:

The Wild haven’t given up against the Golden Knights while facing elimination, and that resiliency showed through in Game 7. Zach Parise created two great first-period chances, ultimately scoring the 1-1 goal on a beauty. Marc-Andre Fleury really didn’t have much of a chance as Parise went through his legs to beat MAF five-hole.

Golden Knights eventually wear down Wild in Game 7

That theme of the Golden Knights struggling to put away the Wild continued in Game 7.

Just 2:05 into the second period, Nicolas Hague made it 2-1 for Vegas. Minutes later, Ryan Reaves dangerously hit Ryan Suter into his own net; it’s possible Reaves was lucky it was only a minor penalty.

The Wild made the Golden Knights pay, as Kirill Kaprizov scored a pretty power-play goal less than 20 seconds into that PP opportunity. This isn’t the first time Reaves put the Golden Knights in a bad position with an unforced error of a penalty. As you may recall, Reaves received a major penalty against the Canucks in a Game 7, one that the Golden Knights managed to kill off.

To the Golden Knights’ credit, they matched the Wild in being able to shake off setbacks in Game 7. The contest only stayed tied for a bit more than three minutes before Max Pacioretty scored a slick one-timer goal. Pacioretty has been sidelined with an injury, but found a way to make an impact. (Whether he’s 100-percent, or not.)


While that Reaves hit was ill-conceived, the bumps and bruises really started to pile up for Minnesota. Jonas Brodin missed time after a borderline hit. Joel Eriksson Ek deserves credit for fighting through various issues from before and during Game 7.

Importantly, Zach Whitecloud scored an insurance goal, so the Golden Knights entered the third period of Game 7 up 4-2.

Chalk it up to injuries, or that two-goal mountain to climb, but the third period was largely eventful — especially once Janmark scored his second tally to make it 5-2. Even beyond that 5-2 goal, Vegas created as many or more chances than a Minnesota team on the ropes.

Once Janmark generated a hat trick with an impressive empty-netter, it was already long-gone.

Yes, they advanced, but could this be a costly series for VGK?

Against a powerhouse team like the Avalanche, the Golden Knights probably wanted every possible advantage. Winning the Presidents’ Trophy would have meant having home-ice advantage in that series. Would the Blues have been an easier opponent for the Golden Knights than the Wild? Perhaps.

While the Wild pushed the Golden Knights to a Game 7 after Vegas went up 3-1, the Avalanche have been resting. They last played on Sunday, May 23, and didn’t need to go to a single overtime vs. the Blues. Considering some of Colorado’s injuries this season, being rested vs. Vegas could be huge.

Meanwhile, the Golden Knights played three extra games, and it’s fair to wonder if Pacioretty, in particular, will be healthy. He made a big impact in Game 7, but missed a lot of time, and seemed shaken up late in the second period.

Either way, it’s a series many have been picturing this season. While this is the end for the Wild, Kaprizov and others inspire hope for more Game 7’s (and maybe a first series win since 2015?).


Game 1: Wild 1, Golden Knights 0 (OT)
Game 2: Golden Knights 3, Wild 1
Game 3: Golden Knights 5, Wild 2
Game 4: Golden Knights 4, Wild 0
Game 5: Wild 4, Golden Knights 2
Game 6: Wild 3, Golden Knights 0
Game 7: Golden Knights 6, Wild 2

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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    Bruins set NHL record with 12 straight home wins to start season

    Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

    BOSTON — The Boston Bruins set the NHL record for most home victories to start a season with their 12th straight, topping the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime with a power-play goal from David Pastrnak.

    The Bruins broke the mark of 11 that was set by the 1963-64 Chicago Blackhawks and equaled by the Florida Panthers last season.

    “That felt awesome,” Bruins first-year coach Jim Montgomery said. “We talked about it after the second (period) going into the third. There’s been a lot of great teams in this league and you’re able to set a precedent, break a record. It’s pretty special and it doesn’t happen if those guys don’t believe in themselves like they do.”

    Boston, which trailed 2-0 late in the second period, tied it with 9:33 left in regulation when David Krejci scored his second of the game on a shot from the right point.

    “It’s never fun being down going into the third, you’re sitting in here (in the locker room) trying to figure it out,” Krejci said. “You want to come out and do the job, something special on the line. It’s hard to win in this league. To get 12 in a row at home is pretty special.”

    In overtime, Carolina was playing shorthanded after being called for too many men on the ice when Pastrnak one-timed a pass from Brad Marchand inside the far post from above the left circle.

    “It was a big win for us, obviously, coming from behind,” Pastrnak said.

    Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Stefan Noesen each scored a power-play goal for Carolina, and Pyotr Kochetkov made 38 saves. The Hurricanes lost their fifth straight.

    In a rematch of last spring’s opening-round playoff series that the Hurricanes won in seven games, Carolina shutout the NHL’s highest scoring team for nearly two periods and jumped ahead a pair of power-play goals in the opening period.

    “We took too many penalties. That’s hurting us right now,” Kotaniemi said. “I think 5-on-5 we’re doing a really good job. We started good tonight and couldn’t keep that up.”

    Boston’s tying goal was originally disallowed because of goaltender interference on Nick Foligno but overturned on a coach’s challenge after it was ruled that he was nudged into the crease by Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce.

    Boston starting goaltender Linus Ullmark made 28 saves but had to leave with 13:03 left in the third period with an undisclosed upper-body injury. Teammate Connor Clifton had jumped on him to block a shot during a scramble. Jeremy Swayman made six stops in relief.

    Carolina’s Noesen scored at 6:34 in to make it 1-0. And with five minutes left in the period, Kotkaniemi collected the puck near the side of the net after Seth Jarvis‘ shot bounced off the back glass and slipped it inside the post at 15:05.

    Krejci scored for Boston with 31 seconds left in the second.

    Boston came in with a league-high 82 goals in 20 games (4.10 per game), but it was held to relatively few chances despite getting a 5-on-3 power-play advantage early on.


    The Bruins honored captain Patrice Bergeron, who recorded his 1,000th career point when the team was on the road against Tampa Bay, with a message on the Jumbotron. The crowd gave him a standing ovation.

    Bergeron became just the fourth Bruin to reach the mark, joining Hall of Famers Ray Bourque (1,506), Johnny Bucyk (1,339) and Phil Esposito (1,012).


    Hurricanes: Host the Calgary Flames.

    Bruins: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    Predators postpone 2 games due to Nashville water main break

    Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. —  The Nashville Predators postponed two home games because of a water main break that soaked their downtown arena.

    Hours after the Predators decided they couldn’t play against the Colorado Avalanche, the team announced it also postponed the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Makeup dates for the two games will be announced later.

    The NHL said the water main break that occurred “significantly impacted the event level” of Bridgestone Arena. Team locker rooms and the ice surface are on the event level.

    Predators President and CEO Sean Henry told reporters that the water in the event level ranged from 3 inches to 3 feet.

    “We’re assessing it right now. We’re remediating it,” Henry said. “The good thing is, the water got shut off, the city responded in a pretty fast manner. I don’t think anyone is ready for things like this the Friday after Thanksgiving.”

    Video posted by a WTVF-TV reporter shows the water puddled up on the main floor’s concourse area and the team store. The team was forced to close the store until further notice, pointing shoppers online for Black Friday specials.

    The Predators’ next home game is now scheduled for Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks.

    The water issue also resulted in a switch to a different venue for a college hockey game between Northeastern and Western Michigan. They also had been scheduled to play at Bridgestone Arena, a game that was moved to Ford Ice Center Bellevue.

    Rangers trade Ryan Reaves to Wild for 5th-round pick in 2025

    Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

    ST. PAUL, Minn. — The New York Rangers traded enforcer Ryan Reaves to the Minnesota Wild for a 2025 fifth-round pick.

    Reaves had been a healthy scratch for eight of the past 12 games for the Rangers. He gives struggling Minnesota some extra muscle and a veteran presence.

    The 35-year-old is signed through only the rest of this season at a $1.75 million salary cap hit. He has no points and 12 penalty minutes in 12 games of his second season with New York.

    Reaves has played in 869 NHL regular-season and playoff games for the St. Louis Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins, Vegas Golden Knights and Rangers. He was with the Golden Knights during their inaugural season in 2017-18 when the reached the Stanley Cup Final.

    Toronto’s Morgan Rielly placed on long-term injured reserve

    Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

    TORONTO — The Toronto Maple Leafs placed defenseman Morgan Rielly on long-term injured reserve with a knee injury.

    Rielly was hurt in a collision with with New York forward Kyle Palmieri early in the third period of Toronto’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Islanders at home.

    Rielly has no goals and 16 assists in 20 games this season and is averaging 23 minutes of ice time.

    Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said following practice that the 28-year-old Rielly doesn’t need surgery, adding there’s no firm timeline for his return beyond the minimum 24 days and 10 games required for going on long-term injured reserve.

    Toronto’s defense is also missing Jake Muzzin with a neck injury and T.J. Brodie with an injured oblique.