LAS VEGAS (AP) — Joel Eriksson Ek scored twice and the Minnesota Wild defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 5-3 on Monday night for their third straight win.
Mats Zuccarello, Marco Rossi and Matt Boldy also scored to help Minnesota win for the sixth time in eight games. Filip Gustafsson made 27 saves.
Jonathan Marchessault, Michael Amadio and Mark Stone scored for Vegas, and Adin Hill stopped 24 shots.
On a night when the Super Bowl became the most-watched program in television history at Allegiant Stadium, a crowd of 18,207 inside a sold-out T-Mobile Arena watched as the defending champion Golden Knights played in the 2024 season. It was only their third loss in a home game of the year.
“Our puck management to set up the game to spend a lot of time in the offensive zone was really strong,” University of Minnesota coach John Hynes said. “So it’s great to get two points. But what I’m most encouraged about is the process of the last two games, the style of the game and the dedication it takes to get through to the end. This is a great initiative.”
The game was tied at 2-all, Hill made the first save, the ball fell from Rossi’s glove as he looked for the rebound, the puck bounced off the crease, then Rossi punched the rebound and the Wild took the lead. I got it back. Sixty-one seconds later, Boldy hit a floater from near the goal line to make it a two-point lead.
“Honestly, I thought I was just going to throw it to the net,” Boldy said. “It wasn’t a big deal, I just got lucky.”
The loss derailed Las Vegas defenseman Alex Pietrangelo’s 1,000th career game appearance. Pietrangelo had two assists, becoming the sixth defenseman in NHL history to record multiple assists in his 1,000th career game. The two-time Stanley Cup champion was celebrated before the game.
Marchessault became the first NHL player to score within 30 seconds in back-to-back games, trailing Gustafson just 22 seconds into the game when his chip shot from the goal line clipped the skate of Minnesota defenseman Brock Faber. He became the 9th player.
Marchessault scored 19 seconds into a 3-2 win against Arizona last Thursday.
The Wild took advantage of a 5-on-3 power play midway through the first inning, with Zuccarello converting a pass from Kirill Kaprizov on a one-timer to tie the score. Minnesota took the lead less than two minutes later when Eriksson Ek hit Hill’s right foot with a rebound from the crease.
Amadio tied the game with a shot past Gustafsson from the top of the right circle just before the end of the first half, scoring his 50th career goal.
Things heated up even more in the scoreless final period, with the Wild scoring back-to-back goals with nearly a minute difference.
Stone cut the lead to one point moments later when a shot from the top of the right circle sailed past Gustafsson, but Eriksson Ek’s empty-net goal gave them the final lead.
“After the first five minutes, I thought we mismanaged the puck between the Blues,” Las Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy said. “I’m not trying to make excuses, but I was worried about what our energy level would be today. We started well, but some of the players we rely on were bad again tonight.”
Wild: Visit Arizona on Wednesday.
Golden Knights: Host Carolina on Saturday.
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