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Wild lose 2-1 in overtime to Golden Knights, get zero points with goalie pulled

In trying to keep their bleak playoff hopes alive, the Wild have been dealing with some grim numbers.

But the math that went down Saturday might take the cake: The Wild had secured one point, sacrificed it to gain a second and ended up with zero.

"It's a bummer," defenseman Jake Middleton said. "We played really well for a lot of that hockey game."

After pulling goaltender Filip Gustavsson for an extra attacker in overtime, the Wild gave up an empty-net goal to the Golden Knights to lose 2-1 at Xcel Energy Center and forfeit the point they'd previously banked by being tied at the end of regulation.

That's the punishment for getting scored on after subbing the goalie for a skater when there isn't a delayed penalty, according to the NHL rulebook.

"I don't think we would have been happy with one point, either," Gustavsson said. "So, it was all or nothing."

Vegas' Jonathan Marchessault flung the puck 126 feet into the vacant Wild net with only 1 minute, 30 seconds left in overtime after William Karlsson fed Marchessault a Mats Zuccarello rebound. Matt Boldy, Joel Eriksson Ek and Kirill Kaprizov were alongside Zuccarello.

Usually a rare situation, this is the second time the Wild have risked a point to try to double their reward.

On March 10, they prevailed 4-3 against Nashville, becoming the first team to capitalize like this since Los Angeles did against Boston on Oct. 28, 2017. At the time, not everyone on the Wild even knew the obscure rule, but coach John Hynes did.

"These aren't random decisions," Hynes said. "I would put those guys back on the ice again. I think that we have an excellent power play. I think those four guys on the ice against three players gives you the best chance to win the hockey game."

Boldy, Eriksson Ek, Kaprizov and Zuccarello were in action when the Wild defeated the Predators, with Boldy delivering the game-winning goal, but deploying the team's top-four scores wasn't the only reason Hynes made this call.

BOXSCORE: Vegas 2, Wild 1 (OT)

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The Golden Knights (4-2) were more successful in the shootout than the Wild (3-3), and the Wild needed a win.

They entered the game eight points back of a playoff spot and have just nine games remaining on their schedule.

"I thought it was a quality shot by Zucc," Hynes said. "You give him five of those, three of them are probably going into the net. Puck bounces a different way, [and] we're having a different discussion.

"But I think that's your job as a coach is to analyze everything and put them in a position to win."

The Wild had their desperation on display after blowing the lead late in the third period.

Kaprizov capitalized with 3:16 left in the second period during a five-minute major penalty against Vegas' Jack Eichel, who speared Kaprizov after Kaprizov knocked Eichel to the ice earlier in the shift; Eichel was also kicked out of the game. But the Golden Knights snatched momentum back with 6:17 to go in the third on a Michael Amadio one-timer during a 2-on-1.

"When teams press, I think there's some details and discipline in our game that need to be better when you know a team's going to come from behind," said Hynes, mentioning positioning and reads. "That's another step of growth for our team."

Gustavsson made 29 saves, which included eight during three penalty kills; Logan Thompson had 32 stops for Vegas.

The Wild's lone power play was Eichel's spearing major even though Eriksson Ek was tripped and elbowed, and Ryan Hartman was caught with a high stick late in regulation. Hartman was assessed a 10-minute misconduct at the game's conclusion for abusive language.

Although the result was finalized in overtime, the Wild were officially charged with a regulation loss, just their second in a 12-game span that hasn't hauled them up the standings.

"We went for it. We were aggressive. We tried to put ourselves in a position to win, and it didn't work," Hynes said. "Either way, we've got to win hockey games."

But wins alone aren't enough to get the Wild to the playoffs. They need the teams in front of them to lose, too.

"Bigger miracles have happened," Gustavsson said. "So, we just keep fighting."