Staal scores twice as Wild drub Knights
ST. PAUL—Eric Staal scored two goals and Devan Dubnyk stopped 22 shots to lead the Minnesota Wild to a 5-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday night, Feb. 2, at the Xcel Energy Center.
Charlie Coyle, Tyler Ennis and Jared Spurgeon also scored goals for Minnesota, which improved to 10-3-2 in its last 15 games and has won both meetings with the Western Conference leading Golden Knights, both in Saint Paul. The two teams meet one more time in the regular season on March 16 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Malcolm Subban, making his first start in net for the Golden Knights since a 4-3 overtime loss at Florida on Jan. 19, had 31 saves. It was just the fourth loss in regulation in the last 26 games for Vegas, which is now 19-4-3 during that span.
Ex-Wild left winger Erik Haula and Nate Schmidt scored goals for the Golden Knights, who were coming in off a physical 3-2 overtime win at Central Division leading Winnipeg on Thursday night.
Minnesota jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead, peppering Subban with 19 shots in the process. Staal started the scoring with a power play goal, one-timing a cross-ice pass from Mike Reilly past Subban's stick side. Coyle followed with his sixth goal of the season five minutes later, snapping in a wrist shot from the left circle, also past Subban's stick side.
Ennis upped the Wild lead to 3-0 just 1:11 into the second period, firing a wrist shot under Subban's glove from the left circle at the end of a 3-on-2 rush. Haula answered with his career-high 20th goal of the season and fifth in five games, redirecting a Colin Miller wrist shot.
Minnesota scored its second power play goal to make it 4-1 when Spurgeon fired a shot at the goal that hit Miller's skate and trickled in. Ryan Suter garnered his 400th career assist on the score, becoming the 11th defenseman in NHL history to tally at least 200 assists with two different teams. He also accomplished the feat with Nashville.
Schmidt scored his fourth goal of the season on a power play with 7:22 remaining, firing a shot from the side of the net that hit Dubnyk's skate and snuck inside the near post. Staal then got credited with his team-leading 22nd goal with 1:29 left when David Perron hooked him to prevent him from shooting on a breakaway at an empty net.