Late goals by Brodin, Kaprizov catapult Wild past Vegas

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Sarah McLellan, Star Tribune
·3 min read
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If the latest installment of Wild vs. Golden Knights was a potential playoff preview, the series will be entertaining.

And a goal scorer's paradise.

Offense outpaced defense, and the Wild ended up having enough fuel — powering past Vegas 6-5 in front of 3,000 at Xcel Energy Center thanks to not one but two goals in the final two minutes of the third period.

Rookie Kirill Kaprizov tied the game at 5 with 1 minute, 32 seconds to go before Jonas Brodin polished off the comeback on the very next shift just 26 seconds later — a frenzied finish but an ending that certainly wasn't out of the blue considering how the game started.

Golden Knight goaltender Robin Lehner had a shaky start, paving the way for the Wild to open the scoring.

After Lehner lost his stick, the Wild had him scrambling; he even clutched the stick upside down when he finally got it back. That's when Joel Eriksson Ek cruised into the offensive zone and wired the puck by Lehner 3:36 into the first period for his 18th goal of the season.

But 53 seconds later, Vegas evened the score 53 seconds on a Shea Theodore shot with Mattias Janmark setting the screen in front of Wild goalie Cam Talbot, who immediately protested. The Wild issued its first coach's challenge of the season, but video review determined Talbot wasn't interfered with on the goal.

Not only did that keep the Golden Knights' goal on the board, but Vegas went to the power play as a result of the unsuccessful challenge. And that's when the Golden Knights discovered their first lead, a rising shot by Alec Martinez from the right faceoff circle at 6:05.

Just 1:43 later, the Wild caught up on another rough sequence for Lehner. A Matt Dumba shot bounced out of his glove, and Nick Bonino backhanded in the rebound.

But Vegas hauled a 3-2 lead into the intermission after Krebs fed Alex Tuch for a shot that trickled through Talbot at 12:20.

That deficit ballooned to 2 by 6:48 of the second when Chandler Stephenson picked off a Jared Spurgeon pass and set up captain Mark Stone.

Soon after, Spurgeon atoned for the gaffe on the power play when Bonino redirected in his shot at 8:44. Bonino's two-goal game was his first since Oct. 29, 2019, and the assist was Spurgeon's second of the night during a three-game point streak. The Wild went 1-for-2 on the power play, and the Golden Knights were 1-for-3.

Before the second ended, Vegas scored one more to give it a two-goal cushion heading into the third period. Jonathan Marchessault finished off a tic-tac-toe passing play at 16:04.

Kevin Fiala put back his own rebound 10:49 into the third for his 20th goal and 12th point over his last eight games, and that was just the boost the Wild needed to complete yet another comeback.

In its last game, the Wild overcome a multi-goal deficit in the third to prevail 4-3 in overtime against the Blues.

The Wild improved to 5-1-1 in this year's regular-season series against Vegas that wraps up Wednesday.

Like the other games this season, this was a competitive battle even though Vegas was facing adversity. The Golden Knights were down a player, dressing only 11 forwards, and Lehner not at his smoothest. He totaled 26 saves, while Talbot had 27 to snap his two-game slide at home.

Still, the Golden Knights remain atop of the West with five games to go, but this victory trimmed their lead over the Wild down to four points. Colorado is currently in second place.