Staal's 3rd-period pair gives Wild 4-2 win vs. Knights
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Eric Staal scored the go-ahead goal with 7:55 left and tacked on an empty-netter to give the Minnesota Wild a 4-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday night.
Mikael Granlund and Jonas Brodin also scored for the Wild, who wrapped up the month with a 4-0-1 record in their last five home games despite a series of sloppy and sluggish performances throughout November.
Brayden McNabb and Jonathan Marchessault had goals for the Golden Knights, who took their second straight loss after a five-game winning streak.
The winner for the Wild was started by Matt Dumba’s slap shot that glanced off Vegas defenseman Deryk Engelland in the front to set up Staal’s rebound .
The game went more than 37 minutes without a goal until Granlund turned a slick cross-ice pass by defenseman Mike Reilly late in the second period into a snap shot that finally got the crowd going. The puck scraped the same post that Brendan Leipsic hit in the first period, one of three attempts by the Golden Knights that pinged off a pipe. James Neal and Stefan Matteau had the others.
Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk’s 10th victory of the season was well-earned, though, with 29 saves.
He denied Marchessault’s close-range wrist shot with the inside of his blocker with 61 seconds left, among several prime scoring chances the Golden Knights produced down the stretch. In the second period, Dubnyk’s sliding save denied Leipsic on a rush.
After allowing 13 goals over their last two games and 30 goals in a seven-game span since three consecutive shutouts by Dubnyk, the defense was much more to Wild coach Bruce Boudreau’s liking.
The Knights, with former Wild forwards Erik Haula and Alex Tuch on the first line, still put together a potent attack. McNabb, the defenseman who signed a four-year, $10 million contract extension this week, broke up a pass in the Wild zone and trailed a 4-on-3 before a drop pass from Matteau set him up for a score.
Then Marchessault gave the Knights the lead, going high to Dubnyk’s glove side again, off a drop pass by Cody Eakin, all in a span of less than two minutes.
But soon after, the Wild tied it up. Nino Niederreiter, who was earlier denied with a difficult pad save by Knights goalie Malcolm Subban, muscled with McNabb for position near the crease as Brodin’s slap shot glanced off McNabb’s stick and into the net.
Wild RW Jason Zucker, who assisted on Granlund’s goal, grew up playing roller hockey in Las Vegas and is the only Nevada-raised player currently in the NHL. … The Golden Knights placed LW David Perron on injured reserve before the game with an unspecified injury. … Granlund had six goals in 15 games in November.
Golden Knights: Stay on the road to face Winnipeg on Friday night. They beat the Jets 5-2 at home three weeks ago.
Wild: Host St. Louis on Saturday night, their first meeting in Minnesota since former head coach Mike Yeo and the Blues eliminated the Wild from the first round of the playoffs in five games last spring. The Blues beat the Wild 6-3 in St. Louis last weekend.