LAS VEGAS – The saves were different.
One came with the glove and the other a stick.
But both stops by Wild goaltender Cam Talbot in the 3-2 shootout win over the Golden Knights on Thursday were the result of the same skills — Talbot's reaction time and athleticism.
"It doesn't surprise us anymore," coach Dean Evason said. "It honestly doesn't. It's like, 'OK, Cam saved our bacon again.'"
After sliding across to glove down a shot by Vegas' Keegan Kolesar during a 2-on-1 rush in the second period, Talbot made another highlight-reel stop on the very next shift to again stymie Kolesar. He reached his stick out to catch a piece of a puck, a sequence that showcased how locked-in Talbot has been this season to make challenging saves.
"The first one I'm just trying to stay as patient on the shooter as possible and hope that the defenseman takes away the pass," Talbot said.
"But guys are very skilled in this league, and they can make those passes. So, after that goes through, you just try to throw everything you can in front of the puck and hope that he gets part of you.
"Got lucky on that one. And then again right off the faceoff, [Kolesar] plants himself in front and makes a good tip. Again, just pure desperation to go back for the puck and just got it with the tip of my stick."
By outlasting Vegas in a shootout on Thursday, the Wild avoided losing a third straight game for the first time this season. All the team's skids have been capped at two games, a resiliency that has become a hallmark of this year's squad.
"Our group's real good at forgetting," Evason said. "We learn from our mistakes and then we let it go and we go forward, and our group has done a real good job of that."
Mats Zuccarello missed Saturday's game with a lower-body injury.
The winger was absent for part of the second period Thursday, but he eventually returned and finished out the game.
With Zuccarello unavailable, Nico Sturm was back in the lineup after sitting as a healthy scratch on Thursday — a chance for the rookie to reset.
"He's not banged up," Evason said of Sturm. "We love his energy. We love his game. We love him on the forecheck. We love when he finishes every single check. It's just an opportunity as a young guy to have a look, and everybody puts such a negative perception on not playing one hockey game or two hockey games. Sometimes it can be the best thing for a player."
Sturm filled out a fourth line with Luke Johnson and Kyle Rau, who played a second consecutive game.
"He plays hard," Evason said. "He's got real good speed, gets in on the forecheck, finishes absolutely every check. So, yeah, there's no question that he improves us with that straightforwardness."
Just like Ovechkin
Rookie Kirill Kaprizov played 24 minutes, 9 seconds Thursday, the most he'd skated in a game up to that point this season, and Kaprizov's stamina reminds Evason of another Russian star: Alex Ovechkin.
"He'd come off and he'd just be really sucking wind," said Evason, who was on Washington's coaching staff as an assistant when Ovechkin broke into the NHL with the Capitals. "And then boom. He'd be ready to go in like 10, 15 seconds. So, Kirill has a bit of that."
On the mend
Winger Zach Parise is no longer on the NHL's COVID list. He and winger Marcus Foligno (lower-body injury) have been skating in Minnesota, Evason said, but it's unclear when they will rejoin the lineup.