Sharks-Golden Knights rivalry animosity hasn't waned in 2021 NHL season

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Alex Didion
·2 min read
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No love lost between rivals Sharks, Golden Knights this year originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

One of hockey's fiercest rivalries didn't miss a beat on Saturday, as the clash between the Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights featured plenty of intensity and extracurriculars.

It began in the first period, when longtime rivals Evander Kane and Ryan Reaves both were sent to the penalty box, and had a heated back-and-forth which appeared to feature some colorful language.

Kane and Reaves have quite a history, as the Sharks defenseman ripped into Reaves and questioned his toughness after the two brawled in Game 3 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoff first-round series between the teams.

"For the so-called toughest guy in the league, I don't think he landed a punch," Kane said between Games 3 and 4. "At times, I thought I was fighting the Muffin Man. Didn't expect that, I expected a lot more of a battle. I was able to handle him. I think he lost a bit of his allure in terms of toughness."

Reaves trolled Kane by adopting the "Muffin Man" moniker, even showing up to the NHL's playoff bubble last season with a mask covered in muffins.

Kane later got into it with Vegas winger Reilly Smith and the two went to the ice and landed some haymakers on each other.

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That wasn't the first time Smith had been taken down by a Sharks player, as Radim Simek landed a big hit on the 29-year-old early in the second period.

Vegas ended up getting the last laugh, as the Golden Knights came away with the 3-1 victory in the first meeting of the season between the bitter rivals. It was a somewhat emotional day for the Sharks, as the team played its first game of the season at SAP Center after conducting training camp and "hosting" the first few games of the season in Arizona due to COVID-19 protocols in Santa Clara County.

It won't be long before these teams are back on the ice against each other, as the Golden Knights will return to San Jose on Feb. 25.

OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
Minnesota
+120-1.5O 6
Vegas
-139+1.5U 6