The Golden Knights hosted the Minnesota Wild still in search of clinching a playoff berth. Vegas would get some great news that star forward Max Pacioretty was back in the lineup after being injured earlier in the month.
Minnesota came out strong scoring 2:12 into the contest on a weird angled shot that squeaked by Malcolm Subban. Vegas wouldn’t be able to create much offensively mustering only a few quality shots on net. With under a minute in the first period, defenseman Deryk Engelland took a costly tripping penalty leading to a power play goal for Minnesota. After twenty minutes, the Golden Knights trailed the Wild 2-0.
“You get ready for every game because if you don’t get ready for the game to play, bad things happen to you. I want us to play well. Again, like I said, we want to play our team game. There are some little nagging injuries we’re going to make sure what we’re doing now is taking care of that stuff. When we play the game, when the game starts, we’re ready to play hockey.” – Gerard Gallant, Vegas Coach
The second period, Vegas continued having problems generating offense. Midway through the period, Minnesota’s goaltender Devan Dubnyk made one of the saves of the year on Mark Stone’s wraparound attempt. A few minutes later, the Wild added a second power play goal taking a three-goal lead. Vegas would get some life as Paul Stastny scored his 12th of the season right before the end of the period. After forty minutes of action, Vegas trailed Minnesota 3-1.
“I shouldn’t have gone fishing in the first place, that is where the problem started there. It was a deflection and that’s where the rebound popped up. It looked like I could get to it. I reached but couldn’t get there so when he picked it up, I was in trouble. Got to find your shortest route back there. I usually take pride in trying not to roll around like that, but you have to have some desperation and it is fun when you get a chance to make it.” – Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota Goaltender
Stastny would score his 13th later to make it a one-goal game with twelve minutes to play. Subban would be pulled for an extra attacker but Minnesota shut down every opportunity from Vegas. It was a crazy finish, however, the home team came up empty losing 3-2.
“I’m really happy. I might not look it right now but it’s an 82-game schedule and you try to make the playoffs, that’s what your goal is. We would have loved to win the hockey game tonight. We probably ran out of time a little bit, the last six or seven minutes I thought we played great, but we made the playoffs tonight so that’s a big accomplishment.” – Gallant
The Golden Knights record drops to (42-30-6) but with Arizona’s loss, Vegas clinched a playoff berth. They remain in the Pacific Division’s third place position, with four games left to play. The team will get back on the ice tomorrow night as Vegas will travel to San Jose. Opening faceoff is scheduled for 6:00 pm.