ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Fresh off last season’s loss in the Stanley Cup final, the Vegas Golden Knights reloaded for another run by remaking their second line.
A newcomer and a holdover showed Saturday how explosive the second unit can be for Vegas.
Erik Haula scored in the shootout and the Golden Knights rallied to a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night.
Max Pacioretty, who was acquired from Montreal in an offseason trade, scored his first goal for Vegas, which has used Pacioretty and Haula on opposite sides of new center Paul Stastny in the season’s first two games.
“He’s a great player and he played a real good game tonight,” Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant said of Pacioretty. “That line was excellent and that’s a big goal for us at a key time.”
Pacioretty snapped home a one-timer in the slot from Jonathan Marchessault with 1:31 left in regulation to tie the game as Gallant pulled goaltender Marc Andre-Fleury.
“I really thought in the third period when we played our best, that we were blocking shots and doing what we had to do,” Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau said. “But they were pressing. They come at you all the time, that’s why they won the West.”
Fleury made 29 saves for Vegas, bouncing back after being pulled in the opening 5-2 loss at home to the Philadelphia Flyers. Fleury was pulled after 30:11 against Philadelphia after allowing five goals on 16 shots.
Matt Dumba scored for the Wild, who was the only team in the Western Conference to sweep Vegas last season. Minnesota goaltender Devan Dubnyk stopped 41 of the 42 shots he faced.
“He was fantastic,” Wild forward Jason Zucker said of Dubnyk. “He’s the only reason that we didn’t lose that game 10-nothing.”
Haula scored the only goal in the shootout against his former team as his shot between Dubnyk’s legs ended up trickling in after Dubnyk appeared to make the stop.
“We just stuck with it, made a great play there on Max’s goal and we had a lot of chances,” Haula said. “Duby played well over there and made it hard on us, but overall I’m just happy with our game. It’s a good indicator to jump back in a tough building, tough environment and just play like that, it’s a good job by the guys.”
Dumba, signed to five-year, $30 million contract in the offseason, scored on a slap shot from the blue line midway through the first period. Dubnyk held up against a Vegas’ attack that outshot Minnesota 42-30 through overtime.
“It’s nice to feel good out of the gate,” Dubnyk said. “It’d be nice to have two wins, obviously. It’s tough to feel too good about it. But we just try to work on those things that make you feel good and I’m feeling pretty good in there now, so we’ll have a good week.”
The Wild lost for the first time in the first home game of the season at the Xcel Energy Center after starting 14-0-3 in such games.
NOTES: Minnesota went 27-6-8 at home last season, finishing second in the NHL in home points. … The New York Islanders were the only other team to sweep Vegas last season, winning a pair of games. … Wild F Luke Kunin has been cleared for contact in his return from knee surgery. Kunin has been skating with the team. … Golden Knights rookie D Jake Bischoff made the NHL team for the first time in his career, but the Minnesota native was scratched for the second straight game along with D Brad Hunt. … The Wild scratched F J.T. Brown and D Nate Prosser for the second time in two games.
Golden Knights: Season-long, five-game road trip continues Monday at Buffalo.
Wild: Host Chicago on Thursday.