ST. PAUL, Minn. — Nicolas Deslauriers scored in his Minnesota debut and Cam Talbot stopped 28 shots for the shutout after Marc-Andre Fleury was acquired at the trade deadline to share the Wild goalie position, leading a 3-0 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday.
“I tried to do my best to fit in, and they made it so easy. It’s not hard to find energy,” said Deslauriers, who was acquired on Saturday in a trade with Anaheim to help bulk up the fourth line.
Matt Dumba also had a goal and Ryan Hartman added an empty-netter for the Wild, who won their third straight game and climbed into second place in the Central Division. The arena was abuzz for the arrival of Fleury, the three-time Stanley Cup champion and reigning Vezina Trophy winner who was fetched in a deal with Chicago.
“I know we’re going to be sharing the net here, so I just go out there and play my game when I’m in there and support him when he’s in there,” said Talbot, who made his first All-Star game this year.
Talbot was injured in January and slumping in February to push goaltending to the top of the team’s to-do list, but he won his sixth straight start for his 26th career shutout and second this season.
“That’s who he is. He only cares about winning hockey games. He doesn’t care about Cam Talbot,” coach Dean Evason said. “He cares about the team.”
The Wild, who traded backup goalie Kaapo Kahkonen to San Jose earlier in the day, added Fleury to form an experienced tandem with Talbot, not to bench the 34-year-old. The 37-year-old Fleury, who ranks third in NHL history with 511 goaltender wins, watched from the bench wearing a forest green baseball cap and his familiar boyishly wide smile.
Fleury’s first time wearing a Wild uniform happened to come against the Golden Knights, who he backstopped for the previous four seasons while posting a 2.25 goals against average over 47 playoff games.
Rookie Logan Thompson stopped 33 shots for the Golden Knights, doing his best to keep the game close after a career-best 38 saves to beat Los Angeles on Saturday.
“We battled hard to the end, and it was a really back-and-forth game,” Thompson said. “It’s just sometimes the way it goes.”
Deslauriers put the Wild on the board at 5:43 of the first period. Brandon Duhaime, from behind the net, set Deslauriers up for the snap shot from the slot after another recent trade acquisition, Tyson Jost, took control of the puck in the corner.
Later in the game, Deslauriers received a roaring ovation from the crowd after dragging William Karlsson out of the crease after a whistle.
“It was pretty comical, but he’s going to bring that every night. It doesn’t matter if it’s Karlsson or their biggest guy. It just the approach and the mentality we need, sticking up for each other, and what we’ve had all year,” forward Marcus Foligno said.
The Golden Knights, who have been ravaged by injuries this season, still have standouts Robin Lehner, Reilly Smith, Mark Stone, Alec Martinez, Max Pacioretty and Brayden McNabb sidelined. Forward Michael Amadio and defenseman Zach Whitecloud were sidelined before the game due to COVID-19, which also kept assistant coach Ryan McGill out.
Vegas is barely hanging on above the cut for the playoffs, one point ahead of Dallas for the second wild card spot but with four more games played than the Stars.
“There’s not a lot of moral victories this time of year because you need the points, but I was proud of our effort,” coach Peter DeBoer said.
The Golden Knights dealt forward Evgenii Dadonov to Anaheim, one of the 33 trades announced by the NHL before the afternoon deadline, but in the evening the team announced the swap was being held up in discussions with the league office because of an unspecified issue. ESPN reported it was due to a limited no-trade clause in Dadonov’s contract that he originally signed with Ottawa in 2020.
The Golden Knights are 2-8 in their last 10 road games. … The Wild are 12-4-3 against the Golden Knights for 27 points, the most by any NHL team against Vegas.. … Defenseman Zachary Hayes made his NHL debut for Vegas.
Golden Knights: visit Winnipeg on Tuesday night.
Wild: host Vancouver on Thursday night.
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