LAS VEGAS – The Wild were trailing the defending Stanley Cup champions in their rink where they seldom lose before the first line change of the night.
Because of a bizarre own goal, no less.
But that didn't doom the Wild, not with what they had up their sleeve.
They pulled a David Copperfield and turned a strange start into a clutch comeback by outlasting the Golden Knights 5-3 on Monday at T-Mobile Arena to kick off their two-game road trip with their third straight victory.
"I love the two points," coach John Hynes said. "But I think the process to get the two points was really solid."
After their power play got them back in the game and their penalty kill kept them in it, the Wild capitalized three times in the third period – including twice in 1 minute, 1 second – to seize control.
Marco Rossi broke a 2-2 tie at 6:28 when he cleaned up a Matt Boldy rebound before Boldy banked in a shot off Vegas goaltender Adin Hill one shift later at 7:29, the eventual game-winner after Mark Stone's sizzling shot at 9:40.
"Chucked it to the net and got lucky," Boldy said of his goal against Hill, who had 24 stops.
Joel Eriksson Ek dumped his second goal of the evening and team-leading 23rd into an empty net with 22 seconds to go to technically wrap up the action the same way it started, with the Wild scoring.
Just 22 seconds after the opening faceoff, the Wild were in a hole after Jonathan Marchessault's throw to the middle clipped Brock Faber's stick and flew behind an unsuspecting Filip Gustavsson into the Wild net.
"We're like, 'Where's the puck?'" said Gustavsson, who finished with 27 saves. "No one found it, and then the goal horn goes off."
But the Golden Knights sabotaged their lead by committing three straight penalties, giving the Wild four consecutive minutes of power play action – including two lengthy 5-on-3 looks.
During the latter, they finally capitalized when Kirill Kaprizov set up Mats Zuccarello for a one-timer from the right side at 10:48. Then at 12:09 right as Vegas returned to full strength, Eriksson Ek tipped in a heads-up feed by Boldy, who funneled a carom off the end boards to Eriksson Ek at the front of the net; Kaprizov also factored into the goal for his second assist.
"That got us a lot of momentum," Boldy said.
Before the period ended, the Golden Knights' power play answered back on a five-hole shot by Michael Amadio at 17:45.
But the Wild's penalty kill was airtight the rest of the way, snuffing out three chances for Vegas in the second period and without one of their go-to penalty killers in each situation; Eriksson Ek was whistled for tripping before interference penalties were called against Brandon Duhaime and Marcus Johansson.
Add in a fourth consecutive penalty kill in the third, and the Wild finished 4-for-5; the power play went 1-for-3.
"They didn't shoot too much on the PK," Gustavsson said. "They had a few low ones that look kind of scary when they walk in there and just hit it into the pad. But I thought we were good. They didn't have any tips."
That set up a make-or-break third period, and the Wild's best players shined.
Rossi's 14 goals are second among NHL rookies, behind only the 15 from Chicago's Connor Bedard.
Faber's two assists on the Rossi and Boldy goals tied him with Bedard for the rooking scoring lead with 33 points.
And before Eriksson Ek put the finishing touches on the Wild's win, Boldy polished off a three-point performance; that tied his season high. So did his seven shots.
"That's how we should play, fast and aggressive, and put them on their heels," Gustavsson said.
In their last two games, Boldy, Eriksson Ek and Kaprizov have combined for five goals and seven assists.
"Just playing our own styles but doing it together," Boldy said. "We're all big, strong, hard on the puck. I think when we play that way, it's hard to defend."
As if the rally and strong efforts by their offensive leaders wasn't enough, the Wild's sixth win in their last eight games also coincided with some much-needed help in the standings.
They gained ground on three of the teams they're competing with for the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference because Arizona, Seattle and Calgary lost in regulation. The Wild moved two points shy of the Flames, hurdled the Kraken and upped their buffer between them and the Coyotes to three points ahead of a key Central Division battle in Arizona on Wednesday.
At 53 points, the Wild are five back of St. Louis for the last playoff spot.
"We can't really look at the standings yet," Gustavsson said. "We just need to find two points as many times as we can, and we'll see where we end up when these 30 games are up."