Alex Tuch scored a pair of goals and Marc-Andre Fleury was once again spectacular in net for the Vegas Golden Knights in a 3-1 win to even the Stanley Cup Quarterfinal series with the Minnesota Wild at one game apiece.
It took four-plus periods of hockey to see the first regulation goals, but Matt Dumba finally broke the drought at 12:07. Just 18 seconds later Jonathan Marchessault notched his first goal of the playoffs on a perfectly placed shot just under the crossbar to beat Cam Talbot and tie the game right back up.
Then it was the Alex Tuch show. Tuch scored crashing the net on an assist from Alex Pietrangelo at 17:19 of the second period for a lead the Golden Knights would not relinquish. Tuch wrapped the scoring with a late power play goal at 19:07 of the third period to nail things down for Vegas.
Marc-Andre Fleury finished with 34 saves and for the second straight game was spectacular.
Fleury did everything right once again, and this time was rewarded for his efforts. At the end of the game he appeared to even take a shot at the empty net but ran out of time. Hey, why not score a goal while you’re at it? Fleury has been outstanding all season long and Vegas will go as far as he can carry them.
Much better this game than the last. Minnesota didn’t get nearly as many quality opportunities although they did still generate some. It’s really good to see Alex Pietrangelo getting more comfortable out there with each passing game. This is his time to shine.
Again, much better this game. At times the VGK attack had the Wild helter-skelter in their own zone, running around and blowing up coverages to lead to scoring chances. That’s exactly what we talked about earlier today, and they need to keep right on doing that. Getting the Wild to run around and break down defensively is a huge key.
Special Teams: A
The late power play goal is simply icing on the cake here. The penalty kill turned aside the only chance against. What is even more important is the discipline the VGK has showed so far in the series.
- Kevin Fiala was everywhere for the Wild tonight. I really liked his game and he was dangerous. The only difference is that he wasn’t able to finish his chances. Kirill Kaprizov did not show as well as he did in Game One.
- Marc-Andre Fleury is the VGK MVP. Case closed. Aren’t you glad they didn’t trade him now?
- Jonathan Marchessault is feeling it after that goal. Even in his intermission interview you could see the difference. He’s engaged. He’s energized. The Golden Knights need more of that.
- Along with Marchessault, Tuch is another one of the players we singled out in need of getting things going. Two goals is a massive boost to his confidence, and he looks good playing up in Max Pacioretty’s spot. Don’t get me wrong I can’t wait for Patches to get back in the lineup, but this is a great opportunity for Tuch to get his confidence going and tonight was exactly what a streaky scorer like him needs.
- It’s tempting to think Shea Theodore had a quiet night, and for the most part he did. But this stands out: three shots, two missed shots, and eight shot attempts blocked. Eight! Only Alec Martinez had three and everyone else was two or less. Theodore needs to change up his looks and his lanes to start getting pucks through. Pouring it into traffic and hoping something happens is not a good plan. Keep an eye on him in this series when he’s looking to unload the puck.
- With the series heading back to Minnesota it’ll be interesting to see how things go when the Wild have the last change. Vegas has to figure out a way to win in St. Paul and come home with at least a split. Fortunately Cam Talbot finally looks human. Matchups are going to be incredibly important and Pete DeBoer’s role in this series will be under a magnifying glass come Thursday night.