The Vegas Golden Knights continue their road trip in Minnesota following a sweep of the Sharks in San Jose. The Golden Knights edged out the Sharks in overtime, 5-4, and then won with their goaltending behind a big performance from Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury didn’t get all that much action, but was efficient with 24 saves on 24 shots. Bob Boughner couldn’t have been thrilled with that offensive output from his team in that showing, and a day before likely wasn’t happy defensively. Martin Jones was chased out of the game after allowing 3 goals on just 8 shots.
Devan Dubnyk was able to play better, though 2 goals against on 19 shots wasn’t the best performance. Dubnyk was ultimately on the ice for the final goal of the game. Oscar Dansk was between the pipes for the Golden Knights in that contest. With Robin Lehner injured, the Knights have had to go to Dansk, who has NHL experience from the 2017-18 season. The Knights were destroyed by the injury bug to their goaltenders and had to go deep into the minor league system to find healthy goaltenders.
With the wins in San Jose, the Golden Knights advanced to 16-4-1 on the season and 33 points for a two-point lead on the St. Louis Blues. The West Division is a highly competitive division, with four teams within 5 points of one another. The team on the back-end of that equation is the Minnesota Wild. Minnesota welcomes the Golden Knights to the Xcel Energy Center with a record of 13-8-1. They are in the mix, but don’t have the extra kick that some of the other teams like Vegas possesses. I feel like we’re saying the same about the Wild every season. Good, but not good enough to hold in there with the top contenders.
The Wild are coming off a split against the Arizona Coyotes. They dispatched the Yotes with ease on Friday, 5-1, and then struggled in a 5-2 loss the following night. Cam Talbot was touched up for 4 goals on 30 shots in the crease for a 0.867 save percentage. 24-year-old Kahkonen was in better form the night before, as he recorded a 0.96 save percentage on 25 shots. It was a much better defensive performance overall, with the blue line holding in there tougher as well. Head below for our free Golden Knights vs. Wild pick on March 8, 2021.
Vegas Golden Knights vs. Minnesota Wild NHL Betting Odds:
Golden Knights vs. Wild Prediction:
The Vegas Golden Knights can win in a lot of different ways. I noted it in their inaugural season, and they continue to play like a chameleon on the ice. If they need a strong defensive performance, the Knights are capable of playing more of a brand of hockey that focuses on defence. However, if the game turns into a high-scoring back-and-forth affair, then the Knights have the talent to win a 5-4 type of game.
Despite losing Brayden McNabb to injury nearly a month ago, they’ve held up well defensively. No word on the seriousness of a possible Alex Pietrangelo injury after he blocked a shot against the Sharks. With Marc-Andre Fleury between the pipes, the Knights’ best defensive option is going to be present, though. Playing with a chip on his shoulder, Fleury has been in terrific form this season. Through rumours of being on the chopping block, he’s returned this season and playing standout hockey.
Fleury goes into Minnesota with a 1.60 GAA and 0.942 save percentage. The former Pittsburgh Penguin has allowed 2 or fewer goals in three of his previous four outings. Fleury has been incredible on the road, with a 1.00 GAA and 0.964 save percentage through six games on the road. The thought of Lehner becoming the full-time No. 1 for the Golden Knights clearly lit a spark under him. Overall, the Golden Knights are second in the league with only 2.1 goals against per game.
They’re strong on the road as well, allowing 1.88 goals per game as a visitor. Note that in their previous ten outings, Vegas has conceded only 1.8 goals per contest. As I said, Vegas can win with their offensive ability, too. They rank fifth in the league with 3.3 goals scored per game. In two meetings against the Wild this season, the Golden Knights easily found holes in their defense, as they scored 5 goals in each game. Vegas is going to have to put some effort in tonight, but I like their chances with Fleury in net. A 4-2 or 3-2 win for the Golden Knights looks plausible.