Vegas Golden Knights crumble in ugly, toothless loss to Wild

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SAINT PAUL, MN – FEBRUARY 11: Zach Parise #11 of the Minnesota Wild scores a goal against Nate Schmidt #88 and Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Vegas Golden Knights during the game at the Xcel Energy Center on February 11, 2019 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

It was a disaster in the Twin Cities for the Vegas Golden Knights who were blown out by the Minnesota Wild in an ugly 4-0 loss at Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday.

Hoping to bounce back after dropping a tough one to the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, the Vegas Golden Knights instead endured a disaster that left a nasty taste in the mouth.

Facing off against a Wild team that had just traded one of their best players in Jason Zucker to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Knights had the opportunity to pile more misery on Minnesota.

Instead, it was the Wild who beat up on Vegas and it was yet another example of this team taking one step forward, only to then swiftly take another two backwards.

This was a bad loss no matter how you dress it up and there were a bucketload of things that went wrong for the Golden Knights.

For starters, as good as Marc-Andre Fleury was, he was left to hang out to dry by his defense and it started 5:30 in to the first period when Joel Eriksson EK picked up his own rebound before firing a wrister past Fleury on the power play.

Ryan Reaves then took a stick to an area you don’t want a stick in, and the pain only increased for the Knights after that.

After recording just one shot on goal in the opening 10 minutes of hockey, the Golden Knights were punished at 12:44 when Fleury made a big save on Kevin Fiala, but Jared Spurgeon got to the crease to clean up the rebound for the Wild’s second power play goal of the period.

There was a worrying lack of hustle for the Golden Knights who were just waiting for something to magically happen, while the Wild were the complete opposite in their approach, forechecking hard and crashing the net.

Minnesota were also taking care of the small details of the game so it wasn’t a surprise when they landed another blow.

At 9:11 in the second period, Fleury again did a good job of stopping the initial shot from Jonas Brodin and then Zach Parise but, again, the goalie was left to hang out to dry by his defense as Fiala bundled home the rebound.

William Karlsson, who missed eight games with a broken finger, was easily the best player on the ice for the Knights and he made a sublime one-handed pass to Max Pacioretty, although the veteran couldn’t give the move the finish it so deserved.

And, as had been the case for most of the night, the Wild cashed in on their opportunities and they converted on their third power play of the night.

The impressive Fiala got the puck to Eric Staal who then fed a pass from behind the net to Parise, who one-timed the puck past Fleury to make it a four nothing game.

Fleury was pulled for Malcolm Subban in the wake of that goal but it would have been incredibly harsh to assign any blame to the former given how bad the effort of those in-front of him was.

Karlsson pulled off another beautiful dish to Mark Stone who could only fire wide, and that was it for the Vegas Golden Knights who lost their second straight and were shutout for the third time this season.

Let’s go over some notes & stats…

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