Tuch scores twice, Vegas beats Wild to even playoff series

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LAS VEGAS — Alex Tuch had two goals, including the tiebreaking score in the second period, as the Vegas Golden Knights beat the Minnesota Wild 3-1 on Tuesday night and tied the first-round playoff series at a game apiece.

Jonathan Marchessault also scored for Vegas. Marc-Andre Fleury made 34 saves in front of a sold-out crowd of 8,683.

Matt Dumba scored for the Wild. Cam Talbot, one of eight goalies in NHL history to post a playoff shutout with three or more franchises after the Wild’s 1-0 victory in Game 1, made 25 saves.

Game 3 is set for Thursday in St. Paul, Minnesota, where the Wild are 6-0-2 all-time against the Golden Knights.

The game opened with a bit of role reversal from Game 1, which saw the Golden Knights with a 42-30 advantage in shots on goal. Instead, it was Minnesota opening with offensive firepower in the first, outshooting Vegas, 17-10 on goal, and 24-18 overall.

Carrying over an exquisite strategy from the opener, the Wild made it difficult for the Golden Knights to get inside shots, suffocating them by sending two skaters at almost anyone on attack and taking away the passing lanes.

And when either team was able to penetrate the zone and put pressure on the goal, Talbot and Fleury were equally spectacular. If it wasn’t Talbot making a poke check on Vegas captain Mark Stone in what might have been the Golden Knights’ best opportunity, it was Fleury making stops from rapid-fire attempts off rebounds in front.

Dumba opened the scoring when he took advantage of a screen in front of the net and used a wicked wrist shot from the point to beat Fleury on the glove side.

Minnesota’s lead didn't last long. Marchessault answered 18 seconds later with a shot from the right dot, giving Vegas much-needed life. It was Vegas’ first goal in 95 minutes, 45 seconds, of the best-of-seven set.

The Golden Knights took the lead when defenseman Alex Pietrangelo raced into the zone and fired a shot that caromed off Talbot’s glove and behind the net. Vegas forward Mattias Janmark raced in and backhanded the puck to the slot, where Tuch was there to clean it up, giving Vegas its first lead of the series with 2:41 left in the second period.

Tuch closed things out with a power-play goal with 52 seconds left in the game.

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W.g. Ramirez, The Associated Press