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Marchessault's empty-net goal in overtime lifts Vegas over Wild 2-1

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Jonathan Marchessault scored into an empty net 3:30 into overtime to give the Vegas Golden Knights a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday.

Minnesota, desperate to make up ground in the fight for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference, pulled goalie Filip Gustavsson about three minutes into the extra period. But Vegas gained control of the puck, and Marchessault fired a shot from near his own blue line that found the back of the net for his 40th goal of the season.

As a result, Vegas earned two points and Minnesota zero, thanks to a rule that penalizes any team that loses after pulling its goalie in overtime.

It was the second time Wild coach John Hynes had tried the strategy this season. It worked three weeks ago, when the Wild scored to beat Nashville. This time, facing another team they were chasing in the standings, it backfired.

“Where we’re at in the standings and where it goes, you’re trying to put your team in the best position to win the hockey game,” Hynes said. “And in our opinion, putting (Kirill) Kaprizov, (Mats) Zuccarello, (Joel Eriksson) Ek and (Matt) Boldy against three players on the ice gives us the best chance to win a game.”

The Wild could have played it safe and tried to earn the extra point in a shootout, but Hynes said he considered Vegas' 4-2 record in those situations, compared to 3-3 for his own team, and preferred the high-risk, high-reward option.

If he was hoping for an element of surprise, that wasn't a factor, according to Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy.

“We felt that would probably happen. We talked about it during the timeout,” Cassidy said. “Lo and behold, it lands on Jonathan ‘Money’ Marchessault’s stick and he makes no mistake."

Michael Amadio also scored and Logan Thompson stopped 32 shots for the Golden Knights, who are 5-0-1 in their last six and sit in third place in the Pacific Division.

"You kind of know that they definitely need that extra point, right?" Marchessault said. “We were able to make the right play at the right time.”

Kaprizov scored Minnesota's lone goal. Gustavsson made 29 saves for the Wild, who have to pass two teams to earn the final wild card spot in the West.

“Disappointing,” Gustavsson said. "I don’t think we would have been happy with one point, either. So, it was all or nothing.”

With just under six minutes left in the second period, Vegas’ Jack Eichel was assessed a five-minute major and game misconduct penalty for spearing Kaprizov.

On the ensuing power play, Kaprizov worked a pretty give-and-go with Boldy and beat Thompson over the shoulder to put Minnesota on top 1-0.

Amadio tied it with 6:17 to play in the third after Alec Martinez's long outlet pass hit Chandler Stephenson in stride at the Minnesota blue line. Stephenson and Amadio broke in 2-on-1, with Amadio taking a pass in the high slot and beating Gustavsson cleanly with a wrist shot.

UP NEXT

Golden Knights: Host Vancouver on Tuesday night.

Wild: Host Ottawa on Tuesday night.

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl