The Vegas Golden Knights won consecutive games for the first time in more than a month when they secured a 5-1 victory against the Minnesota Wild Thursday night at Xcel Energy Center.
It was the second straight 5-1 win for the Golden Knights, who are 2-0-0 coming out of the All-Star break after losing four straight and seven of eight at the end of January.
However, all eyes are on the health of Logan Thompson, who suffered a non-contact injury early in the third period and had to be helped off the ice; Adin Hill played the final 18:41 of the contest in relief, stopping all four shots he faced.
It was another dominant effort by Vegas.
For the second game in a row, the club scored at least three unanswered goals after giving up a goal; the Golden Knights have won the last two games by a combined score of 10-2 to put them three points ahead of Seattle in the Pacific Division standings.
Former Golden Knights netminder Marc-Andre Fleury had a rough night and was pulled at the end of two periods after giving up five goals on 23 shots for a .783 save percentage.
The Golden Knights scored first for just the third time in the last 17 games when Nicolas Roy potted his 10th of the year 7:07 into the opening frame.
Nic Roy gets the scoring started in Minnesota!#VegasBorn pic.twitter.com/jJdcmiq7m2— AT&T SportsNet™ | RM West (@ATTSportsNetRMW) February 10, 2023
Vegas took a 2-0 lead just 2:41 into the second period on an unassisted goal by Alex Pietrangelo, which deflected off a Wild skater on its way into the net.
The Golden Knights gave up a power-play goal to Kirill Kaprizov just over two minutes later, but it was Minnesota’s sole tally of the contest.
Kirill Kaprizov buries Eriksson Ek's juicy power play rebound to cut Minnesota's deficit back to 1!#mnwild pic.twitter.com/gYOZ3kuTkE— Hockey Daily 365 l NHL Highlights (@HockeyDaily365) February 10, 2023
Paul Cotter responded six minutes later with his ninth of the year, restoring Vegas’ two-goal lead just past the midway point of the game.
Jack Eichel recorded the primary assist on the goal, making a fantastic play to protect the puck and get it to Cotter in front. It was just Eichel’s second point in the last 10 games.
Paul Cotter scores of an amazing no-look assist from Jack Eichel. pic.twitter.com/Mmc6Jc5HHS— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 10, 2023
Eichel followed it up with a goal — his first since Jan. 12 — less than three minutes later, but not before Reilly Smith snapped a lengthy goalless drought of his own.
It was the first penalty-shot goal of Smith’s career and was his first goal in 13 games. The puck squeaked through Fleury’s pads to extend Vegas’ lead to three.
Reilly Smith draws and tallies on the penalty shot for the third Vegas tally of the period!#VegasBorn pic.twitter.com/Siog2pwKrk— Hockey Daily 365 l NHL Highlights (@HockeyDaily365) February 10, 2023
Eichel opened the floodgates 20 seconds later to give Vegas a commanding 5-1 lead at 13:13 of the second period. Cotter, Smith and Eichel scored in the span of just 2:26.
Like Cotter’s goal, the play started on a 2-on-1, but this time Eichel elected to shoot, beating Fleury far-side.
LET. JACK. COOK. pic.twitter.com/UQBiVTxV01— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) February 10, 2023
Neither Fleury nor Thompson finished the game.
Filip Gustavsson started the third for Minnesota, but the scoreless period was highlighted by a non-contact injury to Thompson, which came in the first two minutes of the frame.
Here's the video of the injury to Thompson. pic.twitter.com/lHA6ulNd4k— SinBin.vegas (@SinBinVegas) February 10, 2023
Thompson was unable to put weight on his leg when he was helped off the ice.
Cassidy did not have an update on Thompson after the game, though he said that Thompson was “moving around” in the locker room. Thompson will have an MRI in the morning, and Cassidy is hoping for good news. “We’ve been injured at every position ... hopefully this is a quick one,” he said.
Cassidy also commented on Eichel’s performance, saying it “looked like he had his burst back.” Eichel has played well following the All-Star break, and he made several key plays in the victory, Vegas’ first regulation win in Minnesota in 10 games.
The Golden Knights finished plays and made smart decisions with the puck for the second game in a row, and their attention to detail was noticeable.
Vegas also benefited from some fortunate bounces, but the Golden Knights were able to take advantage of those opportunities, which was not the case in January.
“When we manage the puck, we’re pretty good,” Cassidy said after the game.
The Golden Knights return home to take on the Anaheim Ducks Sunday afternoon to kick off a three-game homestand.