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Golden Knights drop second straight, lose to Wild 4-2 after explosive third period

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The Knights ran out of luck, as a few posts made the difference.

NHL: Vegas Golden Knights at Minnesota Wild
Minnesota Wild forward Eric Staal (12) shoots during the second period against the Vegas Golden Knights
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Vegas Golden Knights dropped their second straight game in a 4-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild Thursday night, despite a furious serge in the final period.

Malcolm Subban was great for two of three periods, stopping 24-of-25 shots in the first 40 minutes. The one goal he couldn’t save rang off a post, which provides a good summary of this contest — the Wild got the luck that the Knights didn’t, at least early in the game.

Subban was a big part of the Wild’s power play going 0-of-2 and he made some great saves at even-strength. It’s good for the Knights to have a goaltender like Subban back again.

The Knights spent far too much time in their own zone, though. The Wild outshot the Knights, 25-to-22 through the first two periods, ending with a 32-31 lead, which helped contribute to their 4-2 win.

The Golden Knights got three power play opportunities but failed to convert on any of them. The Minnesota power play wasn’t great either, as they were limited to two shots on net on their first opportunity, with a few going wide. They followed that up with a zero-shot effort. That’s great news for the Knights penalty kill, up against the fourth-best power play in the league coming into the game.

The Knights’ goals showcased the playmaking Vegas has become known for. Had the defense been better, this would have been a great bounce-back game for the team. They scored goals like this from Brayden McNabb:

You read that right. That was McNabb. His first of the season, assisted by Chicago Wolves star Stefan Matteau, who registered his first point with the Knights. The Knights followed it up with this goal from Jonathan Marchessault:

On this goal, William Karlsson enters first, drawing two Wild defenders. That gives Marchessault plenty of room, and he snaps the goal in quickly. A wonderful play all around, and an exciting way to go up a goal in the third period.

And then the defense folded in on itself. At least some of the defensemen did. Like this goal, which should actually also go to McNabb:

On the game-winning goal, the puck goes right off of Deryk Engelland and to Eric Staal. If Engelland isn’t there or if he doesn’t injure his hand on the play, the Knights stop it. Shea Theodore also later gave up a turnover to Staal for the empty-netter.

Mikael Granlund‘s goal could have been negated as well. With Granlund left all alone, even as Engelland attempts to block the shot, the defense could have done a better job with coverage here.

There were some bright spots for the Knights defense, however. Luca Sbisa certainly showed up for this game, forcing shots to the outside and eliminating potential scoring chances, like when he successfully shut down Marcus Foligno one-on-one. That’s great news, especially considering he’s fresh off the injured reserve list.

Then Colin Miller made this stop:

At the end of the day, the Knights came just short of tying things up. The Knights were unable to hold off a Minnesota offense eager to redeem themselves after two tough losses and the Knights defense continued to make mistakes during the final 20 minutes, which ended up making a major difference in the end.