LAS VEGAS – Not one but two pucks sailed out of play off the sticks of the Golden Knights, who were already shorthanded.
That meant not one but two 5-on-3 power plays for the Wild.
The latter was a plump 1 minute, 39 seconds, an eternity in two-man advantages and a make-or-break chance for the Wild to climb back into the game.
But the Wild whiffed on both opportunities and the three straight power plays overall, the eyesore in a clunky 3-2 loss to Vegas on Thursday in front of 18,267 at T-Mobile Arena. The loss ended the team’s four-game win streak in its first meeting with the Golden Knights since they eliminated the Wild from the playoffs last season.
“When you get opportunities like that, you gotta make do with it,” Marcus Foligno said. “We didn’t get that done. It gives them a little more momentum.”
Trailing 2-0 in the second period, the Wild went to the power play with a chance to eat into that deficit.
Instead, the team got off only one shot and not even the nicest one. That belonged to Vegas’ Chandler Stephenson, who was stopped on a shorthanded breakaway by Wild goalie Cam Talbot.
With 14 seconds left in the power play, the Golden Knights’ Nicolas Hague sent the puck over the glass for a delay of game penalty.
The Wild didn’t capitalize on the ensuing 5-on-3, with backup goalie Laurent Brossoit making saves on Kevin Fiala and Kirill Kaprizov, but the team received a do-over when Alex Pietrangelo put the puck over the boards for another delay of game penalty.
That served up a 5-on-3 for 1:39, and while the Wild had plenty of possession that led to three shots — including a look right in front by Joel Eriksson Ek that forced a clutch stop from Brossoit — the Wild remained goalless, blanking on 4:08 of uninterrupted power-play time.
“It would have been nice to get one there,” Foligno said. “I think that just might have been our own bounces, just the work ethic wasn’t there early. Sometimes you don’t get those bounces. It’s tough.”
With 7 seconds left in the second, Vegas widened its lead to 3-0 when Jonathan Marchessault buried a 2-on-1 pass from Reilly Smith, who picked up a neutral-zone turnover by Matt Dumba.
I just feel I let the boys down,” said Dumba, who called the sequence a “bad play.”
BOXSCORE: Vegas 3, Wild 2
The Wild did answer, just 1:20 into the third period, when Spurgeon pinched and went top-shelf over Brossoit — after Brossoit stopped Spurgeon twice on that last 5-on-3. Kaprizov’s handoff was his fifth point in his past five games.
Later, with 6:25 to go in the third, Ryan Hartman pulled the Wild within a goal on a one-timer for his team-leading seventh goal. But time ran out and blunted a rare unsuccessful rally for the Wild, which has a league-high seven comebacks.
The power play finished 0-for-6, and the Golden Knights went 0-for-2. Brossoit blocked 24 shots, while Talbot made 32 saves.
In the first period, Talbot was tagged for two goals, one each to Paul Cotter and Jonas Rondbjerg, the first career NHL goals for both.
Cotter buried his first goal in his second game at 6:08 before Rondbjerg got by Wild defenseman Alex Goligoski and lifted the puck over Talbot at 16:41 for his second point of the night in just his seventh NHL game.
“We didn’t have a great start, looked a little sluggish,” Foligno said. “Just didn’t get to our game early.”
Still, the Wild could have overcome that hole in the second period on the power play.
Instead, the team was stuck behind the Golden Knights the rest of the night.
“We’ve been fortunate enough to have a lot of comebacks here,” Spurgeon said. “The belief was there. But if you have a 5-on-3 for that long and you don’t capitalize, that hurts the team.”
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