After dropping back-to-back games earlier in the week, the Vegas Golden Knights got back in the win column Saturday, April 1 with a 4-1 win over the Minnesota Wild inside T-Mobile Arena. The win clinches the season series for Vegas between these two teams.
“I thought it was one of our more complete games,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “We talked about it that late in the year, these competitive games just drag you in and I thought our guys were really prepared to play that type of game. They’ve got a line that’s really hot and got that first goal but after that, I thought we did a good job neutralizing them and it worked out for us.”
This win puts Vegas at 47-22-7 on the season with 101 points in the Pacific Division. This also means that Vegas remains the division leader and leads the Edmonton Oilers by two points and the Los Angeles Kings by three points.
As it sits right now, Vegas and Minnesota both lead their respective divisions, meaning if the playoffs started today, Vegas and Minnesota would be the one and two seeds for the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
These two teams will lock horns again on Monday night inside Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minnesota for the finale of this season series. Puck drop is set for 5 p.m. and can be seen on NHL Network nationwide.
Goaltender Laurent Brossoit played in the third straight game for the Golden Knights Saturday night. This was the second consecutive game he started with the first of these three games being a game where he entered the game in relief of starting goaltender Jonathan Quick Mar. 28 against the Oilers.
Brossoit finished the game with 29 saves on 30 shots faced for a final save percentage of .967.
“It looked a little more like before he was hurt,” Cassidy said. “I think it’s safe to say that he was under control and finding pucks. Rebounds were not in harm’s way that he couldn’t control. Kind of like no unforced errors for a goaltender. That’s what it looked like to me.”
Minnesota lit the lamp first when right-winger Matt Boldy tipped a shot in from defenseman John Klingberg five minutes into the game to give the Wild the early 1-0 lead.
The Knights would respond with goals from a pair of defensemen in Ben Hutton and Zach Whitecloud to give Vegas the 2-1 lead heading into the second period. It is only the second time this season that two defensemen have scored in the same game for Vegas.
Assisting on Hutton’s goal was defenseman Alex Pietrangelo who picked up his 50th point of the season. It is his fifth 50-point season of his career and first as a member of the Golden Knights. Pietrangelo is the fifth player for the Golden Knights to reach the 50-point mark this season.
Whitecloud scored his third goal in his last eight games after only having two goals scored through the first 47 games that he has played this year.
The Wild led shots on goal 14-8 in the first period and led by as much as 10-2 in the period. Vegas finished the period with 8 of the final 10 shots on goal for the opening frame.
Vegas would finish the game leading the shots on goal category 43-30 which included a 21-4 third period for the Knights in terms of shots on goal.
Left-winger Brett Howden scored the second period’s only goal to extend the Vegas lead out to 3-1 heading into the third period of play.
Assisting on Howden’s goal was center Jack Eichel who picked up his 18th multipoint game of the season and eight since the all-star break. Eichel leads the team in multi-point games this season.
“I think we stuck with our game,” Eichel said. “They came out and got that goal early, but we responded well. We got some good scoring and I thought we played a good third period. We had some chances to really extend the lead, but we get the empty netter to seal the deal and get two points in a big win.”
Another Vegas center found the scoreboard in the third period as center Chandler Stephenson lit up the lamp with an empty net goal with just over a minute left to lock up the 4-1 win.
Stephenson and Eichel were the only two Golden Knights to have multi-point games in Saturday’s game. Stephenson finished the night with a goal and an assist while Eichel finished with two assists.