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game recap

Golden Knights rally for win against Wild in Game 3, take series lead

Score five straight goals after falling behind by two in first period

by Jessi Pierce / Independent Correspondent

Smith's go-ahead goal in the 2nd

VGK@MIN, Gm3: Smith jams home own rebound in front

R1, Gm3: Reilly Smith's initial rebound attempt is saved, but he jams the loose puck past Cam Talbot to give the Golden Knights a 3-2 lead

  • 00:44 •

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Vegas Golden Knights scored five straight goals in a 5-2 win against the Minnesota Wild in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup First Round at Xcel Energy Center on Thursday.

Mark Stone scored twice for Vegas, which took the lead in the best-of-7 series.

Reilly Smith and William Karlsson each had a goal and an assist, and Nick Holden had two assists for the Golden Knights, who are the No. 2 seed in the Honda West Division. Marc-Andre Fleury, in his third straight start, made 14 saves.

Vegas trailed 2-0 entering the second period.

"I don't think we could have played any worse in the first period," Smith said. "I felt like they were beating us to a lot of pucks, and we were playing slow. It seemed like we got our legs in the second period and kind of ran with it. We got a lot of power plays. We didn't score (0-for-5), but we built some momentum, kept the puck away from our net for most of that second and third period, which goes a long way. Get some shots to the net, and we had some big blocks."

Video: VGK@MIN, Gm3: Stone buries feed from Stephenson

Ryan Hartman and Joel Eriksson Ek scored, and Cam Talbot made 35 saves for the Wild, the No. 3 seed.

"We left Cam out to dry a little bit there -- a lot," Hartman said. "We gave them everything. We had no possession, no work ethic, no battle. We got away from our game, and we let them dictate. We gave them everything there."

Game 4 will be played here Saturday.

Hartman scored with a backdoor one-timer off a cross-ice pass from Kirill Kaprizov to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead 2:16 into the game. It was Kaprizov's first Stanley Cup Playoff point.

Eriksson Ek made it 2-0 at 8:30. After Fleury made the save on Matt Dumba's shot from the right point, Wild forward Marcus Foligno got his stick on the puck in the slot, and Eriksson Ek gathered it and scored past the goalie's right pad.

"We played with energy and just going after them, making smart decisions on the lines and getting open, helping each other out, and we did that good in the first period," Eriksson Ek said.

Eriksson Ek scored again at 13:05, but Vegas challenged for offside, and video review showed Kevin Fiala entered the zone ahead of the puck at 12:52.

"Obviously when you get down by two, you always, you can get back in the game pretty quickly," Fleury said. "You get that first goal and it's 2-1, and there's still a lot of time to be played in the game. I thought that was a huge call by our coaches, and after that in the second and third, I thought we took over and played so well."

Video: VGK@MIN, Gm3: Eriksson Ek beats Fleury at doorstep

The Golden Knights outshot the Wild 22-5 in the second period and scored three goals.

Stone scored in the slot off a pass from Chandler Stephenson from the left half-wall to make it 2-1 at 8:39.

Patrick Brown crashed the net for a loose puck that Holden sent off the boards to tie the game 2-2 at 15:19. It was the first game of the series for Brown and Holden.

Smith gave Vegas a 3-2 lead at 17:33 when he scored on his own rebound in the crease.

"The right guys scored tonight," Golden Knights coach Peter DeBoer. "'Stoney' needed to get a couple for us. He always brings effort and the same thing, but I think just for his own mental pressure and the pressure he puts on himself, he needed to stick one in the net -- and he stuck two in the net. Reilly Smith scored again, he's been snake-bitten all year and has really started to heat up late and scored again tonight. The right guys are scoring for us that need to score."

Karlsson scored on the rush from the left face-off circle to make it 4-2 at 17:36 of the third period, and Stone scored into an empty net with 59 seconds left for the 5-2 final.

"We've been a resilient group all year … we always come back with our best the next game and I think we're one of the few teams who didn't lose three in a row this year and we need to build on that now," Talbot said. "… We're going to have to come out and give our best game and like we've done all year after a couple of losses, we've been an extremely good team at rebounding this year. We have a lot of character in that room and we're extremely resilient, so I know we can put out a 60 minutes on Saturday that emulates the first period tonight."

NOTES: Brown had not played since a 2-1 loss to the Wild on April 3. DeBoer said the forward tore his hamstring 7-8 weeks ago. … Wild forward Marcus Johansson left the game at 6:55 of the first period after crashing into the net. Evason did not have a full update after the game but said "it does not look good." … Golden Knights forwards Max Pacioretty (undisclosed) and Tomas Nosek (undisclosed) did not play. Each was a game-time decision. Pacioretty has missed nine straight games. Nosek left in the first period of a 3-1 win in Game 2 on Tuesday after a hit by Foligno.

Video: Stone's two goals lead Golden Knights to Game 3 win

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