The Vegas Golden Knights swept the two-game series against the Minnesota Wild with a 5-1 victory Wednesday night at T-Mobile Arena.
Vegas pressed early in this game, and it paid off very quickly. Alex Tuch scored after some pressure in the Minnesota end just over two minutes into the game. The goal came off a gorgeous backhand pass from Cody Glass after Nic Hague’s chip-in set up the play.
this pass tho #VegasBorn | @Raising_Canes pic.twitter.com/JmPycOK1i6— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) March 4, 2021
Around the halfway point in the first period, Marc-Andre Fleury made a beautiful sliding stop on a dangerous rebound from Kirill Kaprizov. Vegas had controlled play to this point so this was the first time Fleury was really called upon, but he stood tall.
The Wild started to press, and Ryan Reaves was called for interference for Vegas’ first penalty in 83:32. The Knights were able to successfully kill off the penalty without allowing a shot, however.
Right before the horn, Fleury had to make a great glove save on Jared Spurgeon to hang onto the 1-0 lead.
Absurd robbery by Fleury on Spurgeon. Near inches from tying it to end the frame.#VegasBorn pic.twitter.com/MUemsbnFBe— Danny Webster (@DannyWebster21) March 4, 2021
After an early 2-on-0 opportunity for Chandler Stephenson and Max Pacioretty in the second, Vegas was unable to convert on the ensuing power play after Pacioretty got slashed by Ian Cole.
However, seconds after it expired, Jonathan Marchessault scored to give Vegas a 2-0 lead. This time it was Tuch who delivered the no-look feed, and William Karlsson got the secondary assist on the play.
Jonathan Marche-shelf #VegasBorn | @Raising_Canes pic.twitter.com/765b4Ig5i9— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) March 4, 2021
Minnesota got one back roughly five minutes later on a puck that changed direction and squeezed past Fleury. It was Marcus Foligno’s third goal in two games, and it cut Vegas’ lead to one.
Fleury with a great save off the draw, but the puck goes through his legs and Foligno is on the doorstep.— Danny Webster (@DannyWebster21) March 4, 2021
Cole and Soucy on the assists for Foligno's third in this series.#mnwild #VegasBorn pic.twitter.com/8R8dPjq3pF
Both teams had some chances throughout the rest of the period, and the Golden Knights had another power play at the end of the second period after Jordan Greenway interfered with William Carrier, but neither team was able to add to the score.
Vegas started the third period on the power play, but Minnesota killed it off.
Minnesota began to push early and had control of the play, but the Wild were not able to beat Fleury. The Wild had four great chances on the power play, but Fleury made key saves as the Knights killed off their 18th straight penalty.
Shortly after the penalty kill, Vegas got a momentum shift despite being heavily outplayed for most of the third. Mark Stone scored on Vegas’ third shot of the period at the 11:08 mark. He was assisted by a very patient Stephenson, who also delivered a no-look feed. The Golden Knights got a much-needed insurance goal to make the game 3-1.
They would add to that lead when Stephenson broke out of the Vegas zone and scored on a nice backhanded shot; the goal was assisted by Stone and Pacioretty. This added some more insurance, extending the lead to three goals. With Talbot on the bench, Karlsson potted the empty-net goal to make it 5-1 with under three minutes left in the game.
Stephenson, Stone, Tuch, Karlsson and Hague all recorded two points in Vegas’ fourth straight win. Fleury was excellent once again and finished the night with 36 saves in his 10th straight start; his strong play in the third period kept Vegas in the game when Minnesota was in control.
The Wild made a somewhat surprising move ahead of Wednesday’s game by healthy scratching Zach Parise for the first time in his Minnesota Wild tenure, but the change didn’t help Minnesota in the end.
The Golden Knights played a much more complete game against the Wild this time around. Vegas was outshot by Minnesota 37-28 (and 20-8 in the third period), but Vegas did what it had to do to win the game.
The Knights have a one-point lead over St. Louis in the division standings, though Vegas has four games in hand. Tonight’s win separates the Knights and Wild (and the Avalanche) by four points, though the Knights have a game in hand on both teams.
Vegas will play again on Friday against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center and will face the Wild in Minnesota next week.