Staal scores twice as Wild top Golden Knights 5-2
By PATRICK DONNELLY
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Eric Staal had two goals and an assist as the Minnesota Wild defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 5-2 on Friday night.
Charlie Coyle, Tyler Ennis and Jared Spurgeon also scored, Jonas Brodin had three assists and Matt Dumba added two to help Minnesota win its second straight after the All-Star break. Devan Dubnyk stopped 22 shots.
Eric Haula had a goal and an assist, Nate Schmidt also scored, and Colin Miller added two assists for Vegas, which remained a point behind Tampa Bay for the best record in the league. Malcolm Subban made 30 saves.
Vegas was coming off an overtime victory in Winnipeg on Thursday night, while Minnesota hadn’t played since Tuesday, and it showed. The Wild carried the pace of play from the start, outshooting the Golden Knights 19-8 in the first period while taking a 2-0 lead.
Staal opened the scoring with a power play goal at 10:05 to put Minnesota on top. Defenseman Mike Reilly fed a pass from the right circle across the ice to the goalmouth, and all Staal had to do was put his stick down to deflect the puck past Subban.
Coyle doubled the lead five minutes later with a wrist shot from the left circle that beat Subban, who was screened on the play by Wild forward Joel Eriksson Ek.
Ennis made it 3-0 just 1:11 into the second period on a goal similar to Coyle’s. Ennis skated in alone on Subban and fired a wrist shot from the left circle that found the back of the net for his seventh of the season.
Vegas got one back five minutes later when former Wild forward Haula tipped in a shot on the power play. Miller fired a shot from the high slot that Haula redirected past Dubnyk for his career-high 20th.
Spurgeon restored the three-goal lead with Minnesota’s second power play goal of the night. With Zach Parise running interference in front of Subban, Spurgeon’s wrist shot deflected off Vegas defenseman Brayden McNabb’s skate and trickled into the net.
Schmidt brought Vegas back to 4-2 with a power-play goal with 7:22 left in the third period. When the Golden Knights gained possession in Minnesota’s zone, coach Gerard Gallant pulled Subban for an extra skater, and the 6-on-4 paid off when Schmidt knocked in a rebound off the end boards from a bad angle.
But the Wild put it away with 1 1/2 minutes to play when Staal was awarded a goal after he was hooked while heading in on an empty net.
NOTES: Haula has scored a goal in five straight games. … Ennis scored for the first time in 19 games. … The Wild welcomed LW Nino Niederreiter back to the lineup. He had missed eight straight and 13 of the previous 15 games with a bone bruise to his left ankle. … Golden Knights D Brayden McNabb returned after missing three games due to injury
Golden Knights: At Washington on Sunday
Wild: At Dallas on Saturday
Copyright 2018 The Associated Press.