The Golden Knights fell 4-2 to the Wild Wednesday night in Minnesota, marking their first back-to-back losses in regulation since Nov. 2.
Just one day removed from signing a 4-year, $10 million extension with the Golden Knights, defenseman Brayden McNabb got the Golden Knights on the board in the third period. The goal snapped a span of 133 minutes and 37 seconds without a goal for the Golden Knights (excluding the empty net goal at the end of their Nov. 25 win in Arizona).
Jonathan Marchessault then scored his ninth goal of the season to put Vegas ahead 2-1, but the lead wouldn’t last.
Minnesota responded with a goal only 48 seconds later by Jonas Brodin to tie the game. Wild point leader Eric Staal then scored the game winning goal, putting the puck under Malcolm Subban with 7:55 left in the game.
Subban played well, stopping 28-of-31 shots including a spectacular save without his stick on Nino Niederreiter when the score was 1-1.
The Golden Knights had multiple chances to score in the final minute but Minnesota goalie Devan Dubnyk was able to keep the puck out of the net.
Eric Staal then connected on a long backhand shot that found the empty net to seal the game 4-2.
The loss brings the Golden Knights’ record to 15-8-1 and, coupled with a win by the Kings over the Capitals, drops them to second place in the Pacific Division.
Wild lead 1-0 after second period
Mikael Granlund ripped the puck off the near post and into the back of the net to give the Minnesota Wild a 1-0 lead over the Golden Knights heading into the third period.
The goal broke the scoreless tie with 2:59 remaining in the period, and was Granlund’s sixth goal of the season for Minnesota.
The Golden Knights’ offensive struggles continue, as they have gone 130 minutes without a goal excluding the empty netter at the end of the Nov. 25 win in Arizona. That’s more than two full games without a goal, and Vegas will have to figure it out offensively to avoid losing their second straight game tonight.
Minnesota is outshooting the Golden Knights 25-22 through two periods, and Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk has been great in net.
Golden Knights and Wild tied after scoreless first period
The Golden Knights and Wild are scoreless after the first period Thursday night in Minnesota.
The Wild outshot Vegas 12-9 in the first period but both goaltenders were solid. Malcolm Subban stopped all 12 shots from Minnesota in a nice bounce-back period after suffering his first loss as a Golden Knight on Tuesday night.
Devan Dubnyk stopped all nine of the Golden Knights’ shots including a couple dangerous ones during a late-period power play.
Vegas was unable to take advantage of two power plays, while Minnesota was unsuccessful with the man advantage once.
Cody Eakin took a hard shot from Wild defenseman Charlie Coyle, and was taken to the locker room before the end of the period.
The Vegas Golden Knights will take the ice tonight in St. Paul to take on the Minnesota Wild, and defenseman Brayden McNabb will do so with a brand new contract.
McNabb agreed to a 4-year, $10 million deal Wednesday to remain with the Golden Knights through the 2021-22 season.
“McNabb has performed very well for us, has been a big part of our success and is at the right age to lock him up,” Golden Knights general manager George McPhee said. “He’s got a lot of room for growth.”
The 27-year-old defenseman leads Vegas in hits (56) and blocked shots (52) and has averaged 19:30 of ice time this season.
“He is a very good defensive defenseman,” McPhee said. “He’s got a long stick, and is good with his stick. He’s locked down some of the top opposing players for us, and we hope he’s here for the rest of his career.”
McNabb joins Reilly Smith as the only players the Golden Knights have under contract through the 2021-22 season. Tonight, the player McNabb, and the rest of the Golden Knights’ defense, will be tasked at corralling is Las Vegas-raised Jason Zucker.
Zucker, who lived in Las Vegas until he was 11, leads the Wild with 13 goals on the season.
The Golden Knights should get a boost defensively tonight, as Luca Sbisa returns to the lineup. He missed the last seven games with a lower-body injury but was activated from the injured reserve today and is expected to play.
The Wild will be desperate to get a win, as they sit at the bottom of the Central Division standings but are only two points behind Dallas and Chicago for fourth.
Special teams will be key in the game, as the Wild are fourth in the NHL with a 24.3 power play percentage and 11th with an 82 penalty kill percentage.
Prediction : Minnesota 3, Golden Knights 2
Season record for predictions: 13-8
Puck drops: 5 p.m.
Where: Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul
Radio: Fox Sports 1340 AM and 98.9 FM
TV: AT&T SportsNet (DirecTV 684, Cox 1313, CenturyLink Prism 1760, Dish Network 5414)
Betting line: Golden Knights plus-140, Total 5.5 minus-110 to the under
Golden Knights (15-7-1) (6-5-1 away)
Coach: Gerard Gallant
Goal leader: William Karlsson (13)
Assist leader: Jonathan Marchessault, David Perron and Reilly Smith (13)
Expected goalie: Malcolm Subban (4-1-0, 2.09 goals against average)
Minnesota Wild (11-10-3) (6-3-2 home)
Coach: Bruce Boudreau
Goal leader: Jason Zucker (13)
Assist leader: Eric Staal (13)
Expected goalie: Devan Dubnyk (9-7-2, 3.08 goals against average)
Golden Knights game day roster
Forwards (12): Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Cody Eakin, Erik Haula, William Karlsson, Brendan Leipsic, Oscar Lindberg, Jonathan Marchessault, Stefan Matteau, James Neal, Tomas Nosek, Reilly Smith and Alex Tuch.
Defensemen (6): Deryk Engelland, Brayden McNabb, Colin Miller, Luca Sbisa, Nate Schmidt and Shea Theodore.
Goalies (2): Malcolm Subban and Maxime Lagace