LAS VEGAS – His linemates had already reported back to the bench for a change, but Wild winger Marcus Foligno was still on the ice toiling.
He was jostling with winger Max Pacioretty for position in front of the Golden Knights’ net, a timely struggle.
If he wasn’t trying to fend off Foligno, Pacioretty might have been able to scoop up the puck as it rolled through the crease.
Instead, he and Foligno tumbled to the ice and defenseman Jared Spurgeon pounced on the loose puck to set up winger Charlie Coyle for the one-time finish. It was the deciding goal in a 4-2 win for the Wild on Monday at T-Mobile Arena that fittingly added another highlight to Foligno’s impressive performance.
“I was just battling for net-front [presence] and had a big battle with someone in front,” Foligno said. “I could see it go in when I was lying on the ground. It was a good shift by us.”
Coyle’s goal clinched a rally that Foligno started when he buried a feed from center Joel Eriksson Ek in the second period to pull the Wild even with the Golden Knights at 1.
Overall, Foligno put four shots on net and made his presence felt during 1:36 of penalty-kill time.
Vegas opened the scoring with a power-play tally but was stymied during four ensuing chances — including 1:12 of 5-on-3 action early in the third when the score was knotted at 2. A delay-of-game penalty by Foligno led to the opportunity, as his clearing attempt eclipsed the glass.
“I just tried to throw it off the boards,” Foligno said.
But the rest of the Wild’s penalty killers held off the Golden Knights, a critical turning point since it paved the way for the Wild to secure the game-winner.
Foligno may not have been awarded an assist on Coyle’s goal, but it was the culmination of a sequence he certainly helped keep alive.
“He’d been playing really good lately,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “But this was a special night I thought for him. He was really good.”
Koivu scores 200th goal
Captain Mikko Koivu secured his 200th career goal into an empty net with 13 seconds remaining, becoming the second player in Wild history to reach the milestone.
He ranks first among active Finnish-born players in goals and is the ninth all-time to score 200.
Mikko and Saku Koivu became the 14th set of brothers in NHL history to each score at least 200 goals. Saku had 255 in his career.
“I probably knew a week ago,” Koivu said about approaching the plateau. “Didn’t think about that tonight, though.”
His goal came after a terrific up-ice effort by winger Zach Parise, as he pushed the puck ahead and then dished off to Koivu from his knees as he fell to the ice.
“That’s determined at its finest,” Boudreau said.
Like it did Saturday in a 2-1 win over the Blue Jackets, the Wild continued to rotate defensemen Greg Pateryn and Louie Belpedio alongside Jonas Brodin. Pateryn took defensive-zone draws next to Brodin, and Belpedio lined up when the faceoff was in the offensive end.
“We didn’t want [Belpedio] getting caught in his own zone if we could help it,” Boudreau said.
Belpedio was reassigned to the Iowa Wild after the game.
• Center Eric Fehr remained out Monday, and he’s questionable to play Wednesday against the Avalanche. Fehr has been sidelined by a lower-body injury ever since Jan. 7 in Montreal when he fell to the ice after hitting his head on the top of the boards in front of the Wild’s bench following a late check.
• The Wild traded its fifth-round pick in this year’s draft for Vegas defenseman Brad Hunt and a 2019 sixth-round pick. Hunt, who played at Bemidji State, has appeared in 58 games for Vegas the past two years and recorded 25 points, including five goals.