NHL Game of the Week: Wild at Golden Knights
The NHL season is coming towards a close and the Minnesota Wild and Vegas Golden Knights are fighting for the top seed in the Western Conference.
These two will play a pivotal game against each other Saturday night in Vegas as they sit just two points apart in the standings.
Minnesota comes in winning three straight games and are 7-1-2 in its last 10 games while Vegas has dropped the last two games while being 7-2-1 in its last 10.
Minnesota and Vegas will also play again on Monday so this is a crucial stretch for the two teams as both look to secure home ice advantage for at least the first three rounds.
The Wild have relied on goaltending to get them where they are right now with Marc-Andre Fleury leading the way while Filip Gustavsson has been a pleasant surprise in net.
Gustavsson has had a stellar season as the backup posting a 2.01 GAA and a .933 save percentage in 35 games.
The defense is very solid from top to bottom and features the likes of captain Jared Spurgeon, Matt Dumba, Jonas Brodin and John Klingberg.
There is depth throughout the lineup as veteran Alex Goligoski is serving as the seventh defenseman in the lineup and Calen Addison is on the bench with 28 points on the year.
With the injury to Kirill Kaprizov, there is not a lot of noticeable names in the forward group.
Matt Boldy, Mats Zuccarello and Joel Eriksson Ek have been the leaders up front this season with at least 55 points on the season each.
Minnesota has also been getting by with contributions from other forwards like Ryan Hartman, Marcus Foligno, Frederick Gaudreau and Oskar Sundqvist.
Vegas has a long injury list that includes eight players including three being placed on injured reserve.
Jonathan Quick will likely be in net for the Golden Knights after coming over from the Blue Jackets in a trade and has been very good for Las Vegas since the trade.
Vegas has a very good defensive core featuring Alex Pietrangelo and Alec Martinez, but it is not as good as Minnesota’s who has one of the best in the league.
The offense has goal scorers throughout the lineup, but their top line consists of trade acquisitions Ivan Barbashev, Jack Eichel and Jonathan Marchessault.
Down the center they also have William Karlsson and Chandler Stephenson who provide a lot of offensive talent along with winger Phil Kessel who still can be productive even if it is not as good as it was in the past.
Prospects Paul Cotter and Pavel Dorofeyev have recently been playing big roles on the second line with Karlsson and will likely be huge factors in this game.
The game will likely be decided by Vegas’s ability to break through to the front of the net around Minnesota’s solid defense.
James Morrison is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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