LAS VEGAS — Not much has gone wrong for the Wild lately, but a rare loss on Saturday sure left a mark.
After blowing an early lead to get rolled 4-1 by the Golden Knights in front of 18,398 at T-Mobile Arena, the Wild failed to clinch a playoff berth and watched the distance to the top of Western Conference double.
"We didn't have the pop that we've had for a while now," coach Dean Evason said.
The Wild did, however, stay in first place in the Central Division.
That's because Colorado edged Dallas earlier in the night, but both teams are only one point behind the Wild with six games left — a push to the postseason that now includes another injury.
Mason Shaw left in the first period after crashing awkwardly into the boards. Shaw had to be helped off the ice and didn't return. After the game, Evason said Shaw has a lower-body injury and will be evaluated.
"Tough heart-and-souler and just unbelievable teammate, guy," Marcus Foligno said. "He's been playing so good for us. When you see that go down, it kind of deflated us a little bit. We're all thinking of him."
Seconds after Shaw exited, the Wild opened the scoring on Matt Boldy's 12th goal in the last 11 games, a John Klingberg shot that banked off Boldy and into the Vegas net 5 minutes into the first.
Boldy, who is one goal shy of 30, is up to 18 points in his past 14 games.
His goal came during a 9-0 run in shots for the Wild, but the Wild couldn't hold onto that momentum.
Instead, the Golden Knights snatched it up on four consecutive goals.
"Things can turn quickly," goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said.
Ben Hutton started Vegas' rally at 9:55, one-timing in a Jack Eichel pass from behind the goal line past Wild defenseman Jake Middleton, who had broken his stick.
"[Middleton] would have stepped up, stick on puck," Evason said. "He's got nothing."
Zach Whitecloud supplied the go-ahead goal with 3:47 to go in the first, weaving a puck off a faceoff win through traffic.
"A seeing-eye goal they throw from the wall and goes through a bunch of bodies, hits the post and goes in," Evason said.
Then just 2:21 into the second, Brett Howden converted from between the circles. Chandler Stephenson added an empty-netter with 1:14 remaining in the third period.
Fleury, who suffered his first regulation loss since Feb. 15, finished with 39 saves. Laurent Brossoit had 29 for the Golden Knights, including a third-period breakaway stop vs. Marcus Johansson; Jonas Brodin rang a shot off the post in the aftermath. Both power plays went 0-for-2.
"It's not like we weren't getting chances, and it was a waste of a game," said Ryan Reaves, who returned from an upper-body injury that sidelined him for the 4-2 win at Colorado on Wednesday. "We had our looks, and sometimes they just don't go in."
This regulation loss was the Wild's second in their past 22 games (16-2-4), and it endedan 11-game point streak on the road while also widening Vegas' lead over the Wild for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference to four points.
The rematch is Monday at Xcel Energy Center.
"You're not going to win all them, but we had a really strong game against Colorado and we wanted to back that up," Foligno said. "But we just didn't feel like we played as good as we did there. We have them Monday in our rink, and guys are ready for that one."