The remarkable sights and sounds from NHL’s outdoor games at Lake Tahoe

David Pastrnak scores just 34 seconds into the game vs. the Philadelphia Flyers on a feed from Brad Marchand in their outdoor game at Lake Tahoe.

As snow-covered mountains stood guard on the horizon, imprinting their shadows on Lake Tahoe’s immense cobalt-blue surface, two NHL games were played this weekend.

The Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights were first to take to the ice, playing on Saturday in a game that grappled with the elements and wound up being played under the stars, followed by the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins on Sunday.

Before the puck could even be dropped in either tilt, though, the spectacle of an outdoor rink immersed in nature was widely praised.

Lake Tahoe, nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountain range which straddles the border with California, offered a remarkable backdrop — one that was able to not only conjure childhood memories of playing on outdoor rinks, but capture the simple freedoms of the game itself.

From those pre-puck drop moments, to the games themselves and everything in between here are the can’t-miss sights and sounds from the NHL’s 2021 Outdoor Games.

The Avalanche and Golden Knights’ first glimpses of Lake Tahoe

With fans unable to attend, teams’ social media accounts were tasked with filling the void of capturing the experience of being at Lake Tahoe.

While nothing would compare to being there in-person, the initial sights were breathtaking nonetheless and the locale led to warmups far different than those you would typically see at an NHL arena.

The puck drops on Avalanche vs. Golden Knights, for the first time

Under the bright Nevada sun, the puck finally dropped between the Avalanche and Golden Knights.

Colorado, debuting their reverse retro jerseys which pay homage to the organization’s time in Quebec City as the Nordiques, controlled play for much of the first 20 minutes. An early goal from Samuel Girard set the tone for a period in which the Avalanche outshot the Golden Knights 17-8, and held onto that 1-0 lead.

But the same sunlight that amplified those lakefront views proved detrimental to the ice itself. Slushy ice conditions led to several falls from players and officials and, eventually, the decision to delay the game.

That delay would ultimately last more than eight hours, setting the stage for a conclusion under the stars.

The puck drops on NHL Outdoors After Dark

The imperfect nature of the event didn’t dampen its magic.

With the sun set, play resumed — 10 hours and 37 minutes after the puck was first dropped — and Colorado picked up where they left off, this time led by Nathan MacKinnon.

MacKinnon, who assisted on Girard’s goal in the game’s first period, engineered a highlight-reel goal in the second that saw him take dance around Mark Stone and Alex Pietrangelo before beating Marc-Andre Fleury to give Colorado a 2-1 lead. The Avalanche never relinquished their one-goal edge, winning 3-2.

At Lake Tahoe, the mascots roamed free

The views offered up by Lake Tahoe weren’t enjoyed by just the players in attendance or fans watching from home.

Team mascots, including the infamous Gritty, were spotted taking in all that nature had to offer over the weekend.

The Flyers and Bruins take to Tahoe

With the eventual success of Game 1 in the books, it was the Flyers and Bruins’ turn to take to the ice.

Boston’s entrance to the rink, which saw the team don 90’s-themed attire, stole the show early on.

Boston vs. Philadelphia, at sunset

The spectacle of Game 2, which featured the Flyers and Bruins, was no less impressive than Saturday’s tilt.

With the game moved from 3 p.m. ET to 7:30 p.m. ET after the sunlight issues on Day 1, the elements cooperated for the Flyers and Bruins, the game playing out with the sun sinking behind the mountains after the first period.

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