“You’re only going to play in your first playoff game once.” Ex-Pat Sam Steel makes instant impact in NHL Playoff debut


It didn’t take Minnesota Wild forward Sam Steel long to make an impact in his first National Hockey League (NHL) playoff game.

With 5:35 remaining in the second period, the former Regina Pat scored the game tying-goal in the Wild’s Game 1 matchup against the Dallas Stars.


Minnesota would go on to outlast Dallas with a 3-2 2OT victory, giving the Wild a road win to open up the series.

Less than 24 hours after his first playoff goal, Steel was a guest on the SportsCage with the Don Hewitt and Sean Kleisinger on Tuesday.

He said scoring a big-time goal in his playoff debut felt pretty good but knows the series is far from over.

“It’s nice to get the first one out of the way.”

Before his playoff debut, Steel said that he tried to harness his emotions to his benefit.

“I didn’t want to ignore all of that, I tried to use it. ”

Steel continued “You’re only going to play in your first playoff game once.”

Dallas ended up outshooting Minnesota 53-48 including a 26-12 advantage during the 32+ minutes of overtime.

The 25-year-old felt the Wild’s ability to keep the composure during the Star’s pressure was a big difference.

“I think we did a good job of weathering the storm and eventually got our break.”

One of the reasons for the Wild’s success this season has been their head coach, Dean Evason, who has been the Wild’s head coach since 2020. Steel explains that Evason has an honest approach to coaching.

“He’s intense, he’ll tell you exactly what he wants, but I really like and appreciate that. ”

The Ardrossan, Alberta product signed with the Wild after spending his first four seasons with the Anaheim Ducks. Steel didn’t participate in the playoffs during his time with the Ducks, but was grateful for the chance to enter the league with Anaheim. He feels it’s an honour now to be playing in Minnesota.

“As soon as I signed that contract I knew I was stepping into a really solid winning organization.”

From 2014-18 Steel became a fan-favourite for the Pats in the Queen City, highlighted by his 50-goal, 131-point season in 2016-17. He would go on to win the Bobby Clarke Award, the last Pat to achieve the honour before current captain Connor Bedard did so this past season. Steel also captured the Four Broncos Memorial Trophy that season as the WHL’s Player of the Year, which is something Bedard is expected to do next month when the league announce this year’s award winners.

Even after all these years being removed from Regina, Steel still appreciated the support from the Pats fanbase.

“My whole career, I had support from the fans.” said the Wild forward, which is something he said that he will always remember.

Minnesota will try and take a 2-0 series lead on Wednesday evening when they meet the Stars in Dallas.

The series will shift to the hockey state of Minnesota for Game 3 on Friday night in St. Paul.




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