The Vegas Golden Knights return to T-Mobile Arena for a date with one team that has given them fits since last season. The Minnesota Wild are 3-1 all-time against Vegas, but as Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant said Monday before the game: “We’re 1-0 against Minnesota this season.”
This is true, as the Golden Knights defeated the Wild in Minnesota 2-1 in a shootout in the second game of the season. And after a rough start to the season, one that saw Vegas strapped with the second-worst record in the league at one point, the Golden Knights are once again one of the premier teams in the Western Conference.
Vegas is in after Saturday’s wild 7-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, during which Jonathan Marchessault scored a hat trick, and linemate William Karlsson added a goal and assist.
The tempo will likely be different, though, as the Wild’s drab style could bring forth a rather boring pace. That is, unless, the Knights force their own uptempo style on Minnesota and carry momentum over from Saturday.
We are 19-12-2 with totals involving the Golden Knights, after losing with the Over in Tuesdays’ game against the Jets. We’re also on a 4-3 run with top-rated power plays that involve other teams on off nights.
As of 2 pm pacific, the Knights are -165, while the Wild are taking back +155.
Value in the Knights
Vegas is 16-4-3 at home and has been playing its best hockey of late. With Marchessault and Karlsson ending a wicked 12-game drought that saw both limited in the points column, this team is looking poised to make a run at the division title after the All-Star Break and its bye week. The Golden Knights have stressed they cannot let up after Saturday’s win, and have to stay focused for this game and Wednesday’s huge showdown against the Nashville Predators. As relaxed as the Golden Knights looked when turning back a two-goal deficit on Saturday, it wouldn’t be wrong to look at Vegas on the puck line.
Value in the Wild
As mentioned, Minnesota (24-21-3) has owned the Golden Knights, and that should provide a sense of confidence for this matinee on MLK Day. The Wild just displayed a sense of urgency on Saturday, when it earned a 2-1 win over a Columbus team that is tied for second place in the Metropolitan Division. The Wild had lost three of four games, but remained in the Western Conference playoff hunt with the win over the Blue Jackets. With a big underdog price, the fact the Wild have hometown hero Jason Zucker, and the domination of Vegas factor, you can’t ignore the pup.
THE TOTAL: As of Noon pacific, the total in this game is 6 under -115.
It makes sense the Under is the favorite today, and that’s the way we’re going with this game. All-Star goalies Devan Dubnyk and Marc-Andre Fleury will be at their best tonight, in what should become an incredible goaltenders’ duel. Dubnyk, who is 18-16-3 with a 2.60 goals-against in 39 games, has stopped 34 of the past 35 shots he’s seen, and outdueled two-time Vezina Award winner Sergei Bobrovsky in the win over Columbus. Fleury, meanwhile, is in after making 34 saves against his former employer, including one on a breakaway by one of his best friends, Sidney Crosby. Fleury had 29 saves and stopped all three shootout attempts in the win over the Wild in October. Look for both tenders to be at their best and this one to stay low.
W.G. Ramirez is a freelance reporter in Las Vegas who covers the Vegas Golden Knights for The Associated Press. Follow him on Twitter at @WillieGRamirez