The Vegas Golden Knights suffered a wild 6-5 loss to the Minnesota Wild Monday night in St. Paul. Despite holding a 5-3 lead in the third period, the Wild scored three unanswered goals in the third, with the game-winner coming with just over a minute left in regulation.
Robin Lehner struggled all night long, but the Knights collapsed late in the third period. Vegas has yet to win a game in regulation in Minnesota.
The Golden Knights made news Monday morning by adding top prospect Peyton Krebs to the active roster. But Krebs turned out to be a side note, as this was one of the craziest games of the season.
It was a high-scoring night, and it started early.
The Wild had sustained pressure in the offensive zone; eventually, Joel Eriksson Ek opened the scoring by beating Lehner after he was without his stick for an extended amount of time.
The lead did not last long, as the Golden Knights tied it up with a rocket of a shot from Shea Theodore less than a minute later. Minnesota issued what proved to be an unsuccessful challenge on the goal, giving the Knights their first power play of the game.
The Golden Knights took their first lead of the night on that ensuing man advantage, as Alec Martinez wristed one past Cam Talbot after a beautiful cross-ice pass from Reilly Smith.
The intense pace continued as the Wild tied the game just 1:43 later. Lehner could not handle a shot from the point, and it was cleaned up by Nick Bonino.
The Golden Knights continued to apply pressure, and Alex Tuch broke in and beat Talbot glove-side. Krebs notched his first NHL point with the primary assist after a great play to recover the puck from Nic Roy, who was back in the lineup.
Both teams continued to play at an astounding rate throughout the period, but Vegas held a one-goal lead after 20 minutes after the teams combined for five goals.
Vegas picked up right where it left off in the second period.
Mark Stone buried a goal after a great pass and takeaway by Chandler Stephenson near the blue line, giving the Knights a 4-2 lead.
The Golden Knights went down a man when Brayden McNabb was whistled for a cross-check, and Alex Pietrangelo got called for high-sticking, giving Minnesota a lengthy 5-on-3.
The Wild capitalized on the opportunity to trim the lead back to one goal. It was Bonino on an accidental redirect for his second of the game.
Late in the period, the Golden Knights regained the two-goal lead. Jonathan Marchessault got one past Talbot after a great passing play from Martinez and William Karlsson, who also assisted on Martinez’s power-play goal in the first period.
Tempers flared at the horn, but Vegas took a 5-3 lead into the locker room.
The first half of the third period was extremely low-event on both sides, and the Golden Knights found a way to neutralize the Wild’s offensive attack.
That is, until the final two minutes of the game.
The Wild were finally able to break through midway through the period, as Fiala got one past a stretched-out Lehner after a mad scramble in front of the Vegas net.
The Wild pulled Talbot for the extra attacker with 1:55 to go, and the Wild were able to tie it. Kirill Kaprizov buried the tying goal off a rebound at 18:28.
But the Knights were not able to slow things down. The Wild took over and scored the stunning game-winning goal on a deflection from a point shot with just 1:06 remaining in the third, giving Minnesota the 6-5 lead for the win.
This was a rough two minutes for the Golden Knights, but especially for Lehner, as he was unable to control a rebound that ultimately led to the shocking result.
The Golden Knights have now lost 5 of 7 against the Wild this season.
It’s an especially tough result for Vegas as the top three teams in the West Division are now separated by four points.
The Golden Knights have an opportunity to make up for it when they take on the Wild for the series finale on Wednesday.