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Milestone coming for Golden Knights’ Alex Pietrangelo against Wild

Jan 11, 2024; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (7) is named First Star of the Game after scoring the game winning goal against the Boston Bruins in overtime at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Vegas defenseman Alex Pietrangelo is set to join the 1,000-game club Monday night when the Vegas Golden Knights host the Minnesota Wild in Las Vegas.

The 34-year-old Pietrangelo, who has also played in 132 playoff games and won two Stanley Cups, will become the 386th skater in NHL history (plus four goaltenders) to accomplish the feat.

“I think, obviously, the big one is to win the Stanley Cup, right?” Pietrangelo said of his accomplishments. “That’s a big milestone, and you want to achieve that. But when you get further in your career, there aren’t many individual milestones that you really get to and this is, obviously, a big one.”

The Golden Knights have been off since a 3-2 victory at Arizona on Thursday and that has allowed Pietrangelo to enjoy the landmark even more. He credited his wife Jayne for organizing a party on Saturday to celebrate the milestone.

“I think the timing was good for us,” said Pietrangelo, whom the St. Louis Blues made the No. 4 overall pick in the 2008 NHL Draft. “We have a lot of people in from back home (King City, Ontario) and have a lot of people from St. Louis, so it’s been a special weekend. It’s not many times you get all your closest friends and family together.”

Pietrangelo is in the fourth year of a seven-year, $61.6 million free-agent contract he signed with the Golden Knights in September 2020. Prior to that, he helped captain the Blues to the 2019 Stanley Cup championship. He has scored 142 goals and 594 points in his career.

Vegas enters Monday’s contest in second place in the Pacific Division, eight points behind the Vancouver Canucks. The reigning Stanley Cup champs have won two in a row and are 7-1-1 over their last nine games.

Minnesota, coincidentally, comes in after celebrating a 1,000-game milestone of its own.

The Wild on Friday honored goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who became the fourth goaltender in league history to play 1,000 games on Dec. 31 against Winnipeg. After the ceremony, the Wild earned a hard-fought 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was his 553rd career victory, second only to Martin Brodeur (691) in NHL history and two more than third-place Patrick Roy.

Fleury was a fan favorite with the Golden Knights. who selected him in the NHL Expansion Draft on June 21, 2017. He was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks after the 2021 season, despite winning the Vezina Trophy that year, due to severe salary cap issues for the Golden Knights.

Fleury made 34 saves in the win over Pittsburgh — a team he helped lead to three Stanley Cup championships — including three in a dramatic final minute, when the Penguins peppered the goal during a 6-on-4 advantage. The Wild also blocked five shots during that stretch to hold on.

“It was fun to watch them sliding,” Fleury said of his defenders in the final minute.

It was the second straight win for Minnesota, which enters Monday’s contest seven points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

“It’s important that we win close games,” defenseman Zach Bogosian said. “That’s what it takes to win games: a lot of heart, a lot of courage. It’s not an easy thing to do. They hurt, but the wins feel way better when you win them that way.”

It’s the start of a short two-game western road trip for the Wild, who also play at Arizona on Wednesday.

–Field Level Media

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