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Wild’s Speed No Match For Vegas As Minnesota Defeats Golden Knights 5-2
(Photo by Jim Mone/Associated Press)
Las Vegas–The Golden Knights continued their 6 game road trip with a stop over in “The State Of Hockey” for the second time this season.
The last time the Golden Knights played the Wild was back on November 30 where Minnesota defeated Vegas 4-2. That was the first time since both Erik Haula and Alex Tuch returned to the Twin Cities since being selected in the Vegas Draft.
Things did not go the Golden Knights way early on as they were under siege early and often by a very fast Minnesota Wild team. The Wild kept Vegas’s Malcolm Subban very busy in net as he had to make 10 saves before conceding to Minnesota’s Eric Staal.
Staal connected from a feed by Mike Reilly as he would go backdoor on Subban at the 10:05 mark in the opening period for the 1-0 Wild lead. This would be Staal’s 21st of the year with Minnesota.
That did not stop Minnesota as they kept pouring on their attack on the Golden Knights. The next man up for the Wild to put the puck in the back on the net was Charlie Coyle. Coyle took a pass from Jonas Brodin and went stick side on a fully screened Subban for a 2 goal lead on Vegas with less than 5 minutes left in the first.
In the second period of the game, the Wild continued where they left off at in the goal scoring department on Vegas. Brodin was once again involved in the scoring parade as he connected with Tyler Ennis.
Ennis took the puck and skated with speed up the ice into the Golden Knights end and with authority, sniped the puck past Subban stick side for a commanding 3-0 Minnesota lead over Vegas 81 seconds into the 2nd period.
For Vegas they would get on the board nearly 5 minutes later as it was the former Wild forward Haula netting the first goal of the game for the Golden Knights.
The Golden Knights were on the power play and defenseman Colin Miller blasted a shot from the point that ended connecting with Haula that cut into Minnesota’s lead for a 3-1 score and ending Devan Dubnyk‘s shutout bid of the night.
Haula Breaks The Ice For Vegas
This was the Golden Knights 8th power play goal on 13 attempts in the last 6 games. Haula recorded his 20th goal of the season.
Later in the 2nd period, the Wild would restore their 3 goal cushion on the Golden Knights and it was Jared Spurgeon getting it done for Minnesota.
The Wild were on the power play and Spurgeon fired a shot on Subban which found a way making contact with Brayden McNabb‘s skate and trickled past the goal line for a 4-1 game. This was Spurgeon’s 7th of the campaign with Minnesota and Ryan Suter would record his 400th career assist on the goal.
Vegas’s Head Coach Gerard Gallant tried to challenge the goal claiming goaltender interference but to no avail, the Spurgeon goal ended up counting.
The contest then went into the 3rd period and Vegas would make it interesting on their third power play opportunity of the game.
Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt collected the Haula missed shot and sneaked it past Dubnyk that cut the Wild’s lead in half, 4-2. This would be the Golden Knights second power play goal of the game and their 9th in 14 tries in the last 6 contests.
For Vegas this was as far as they would get on the scoreboard tonight against Minnesota.
In the late stages of the final period, the Golden Knights pulled Subban for the 6th attacker and a miscue was made by David Perron when he hooked Staal from behind, the result of the hook on the former 2006 Stanley Cup Champion was awarded an empty net goal for a decisive 5-2 victory over Vegas.
On this current road trip, Vegas recorded their first loss and would sit a 2-1-0 with three games left with their next matchup in the Nations Capital on Super Bowl Sunday vs Washington.
Their record on the season would be put them at 34-13-4 at 72 points, three ahead of the idle Winnipeg Jets in the Western Conference.
Subban would recorded his third defeat of the season at 11-3-1 with his 31 save performance on 35 shots he faced tonight.
On the other end of the ice, Dubnyk finished off the contest with stopping 22 of 24 shots that Vegas threw at him, he would record a save percentage of .917 backstopping the Minnesota net.
Vegas completed the contest by going 2/3 on the power play and recorded a power play success rate of 64.3% in the last 6 games.
3 Stars Of The Game
Minnesota Wild: Eric Staal (2 goals and 1 assist)
Minnesota Wild: Jonas Brodin (2 assists)
Vegas Golden Knights: Erik Haula (1 goal and 1 assist)