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Postgame Hat Trick: Wild 4, Golden Knights 0

Fiala's three-point night keys win at Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe / Wild.com

Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 4-0 win against the Vegas Golden Knights at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Tuesday night:

1. The Wild salvaged its first power play after it thought it scored, but it actually didn't.

It was a weird sequence. Moments after Minnesota's first man advantage of the game began, a shot by Eric Staal hit the post then danced along the goal line. Golden Knights defenseman Brayden McNabb stopped it with the blade of his stick, but then it looked like it might cross anyway. 

At the last possible instant, he swept it off the line. Everyone in the arena thought the puck had crossed, and so did the five players in green uniforms. They began to gather for a celebration ... despite the fact that the referee, who had a great angle, had waved his hands for 'no goal.' 

One of the only players who never stopped was Vegas forward Reilly Smith, who took off the other way with the puck for a clean breakaway. Luckily for the Wild, Alex Stalock stoned him with the left pad with what might have been a really embarrassing goal against. 

Officials didn't review the play, much to the chagrin of those in attendance, but it didn't matter.

Video: VGK@MIN: Eriksson Ek nets PPG from the circle

Late in the power play, Joel Eriksson Ek capitalized on a lucky bounce, shooting the puck toward goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. It hit defenseman Nate Schmidt, but Fleury committed ... so when the puck came right back to Eriksson Ek, he simply flipped it between Fleury and the left post for a 1-0 lead 5:30 into the game. 


2. The Wild's special teams were marvelous.

Not only did Minnesota's red-hot power play strike three times, but its much-maligned penalty kill was outstanding on the night, keeping Vegas off the board. 

Minnesota had some discipline issues the first 25 or so minutes of the game, putting the Golden Knights on four power plays during that stretch. The Wild, which had scored twice in the first period, was in danger of allowing Vegas back into the game. 

But the PK did its job, which allowed the power play to go to work.

Video: VGK@MIN: Spurgeon backhands rebound home for PPG

Eriksson Ek and Jared Spurgeon scored with the man advantage in the first before Zach Parise added a power-play goal of his own in the second period, extending the Wild's two-goal lead after one to a four-goal advantage after two. 

Video: VGK@MIN: Parise pots Staal's feed in front for PPG

Parise assisted on Kevin Fiala's goal to earn his 400th NHL assist. His goal 6 1/2 minutes later was his team-leading 21st of the year.


3. At his current rate, it won't take Fiala long to catch Parise, however.

The guy is on an absolute tear, scoring his 14th goal of the season and fifth in as many games when he cleaned up a rebound in front of Fleury at 9:11 of the second period. 

Over the past five games, Fiala has four multi-point games, netting five goals and five assists. The hot stretch of play has already boosted Fiala past his season goal total from last season, when he scored 13 in 83 games between Nashville and Minnesota. 

Video: VGK@MIN: Fiala backhands rebound home from the crease

Fiala had a combined 39 points in those games, and after Tuesday, Fiala has 38 points this season, despite playing in only 51 games. 

Even if he cools off -- and he's not likely to average two points per game the rest of the season -- Fiala is on pace to smash his career best of 48 points and could very well threaten his 23-goal campaign from two years ago. 

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