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Golden Knights at Wild Preview: Vegas seeks redemption in the State of Hockey

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The Golden Knights are four points up in the standings on Minnesota with a game in hand.

NHL: Vegas at Minnesota Wild
Vegas Golden Knights left wing William Carrier skates with the puck while Minnesota Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin defends in the third period
David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

The Vegas Golden Knights lost to the Minnesota Wild 2-0 on Monday, but that’s nothing new. The Golden Knights are now 1-4-0 in the State of Hockey in their franchise history. Vegas has struggled with the Wild like no other franchise and has a 4-7-0 career record against Minnesota.

The Golden Knights were without Mark Stone and Alex Pietrangelo in the first matchup in Minnesota in this set. They’ll likely be without them again on Wednesday, as both missed practice on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Vegas has gotten some good news as Brayden McNabb is a game-time decision on Wednesday. McNabb hasn’t played since Jan. 26.

The Golden Knights need to get their offense energized again, especially if they’re playing without their main producer in Stone. The Golden Knights need more from depth players, as Ryan Reaves and William Carrier have both played in every game, each with two points and zero goals. Keegan Kolesar also seeks his first goal with three assists.

The only two lines with expected goal shares above 50 percent in the first game of this set were the first and third. Nobody produced more expected goals for than the line of Kolesar, Cody Glass and Nicolas Roy with 0.36. That’s something that will need to improve.

The Golden Knights saw their six-game winning streak snapped after snapping Minnesota’s own streak of the same length in the team’s first matchup this season on March 1. Vegas will look to renew a winning streak as they seek their second franchise victory in Minnesota.

What to watch for

  • The Golden Knights’ power play has been the best to play the Wild so far this season. They have the most goals per 60 (8.69) and shots per 60 (69.48) against the Wild. But they’ve produced just the fifth-most expected goals per 60 (4.18) on the man advantage. In the first game, the Golden Knights allowed the same number of expected goals (0.27) as they generated. The man advantage has to be better — not just in this game, but on the season.
  • The Golden Knights’ third line — especially the combination of Glass and Roy — remains very good at moving the puck. In 82:34 at 5-on-5, that duo has a 60.66 percent shot share and 65.24 percent expected goal share. They’ve played just 7:58 with Kolesar so that line can’t be judged yet. But that trio has just one goal between them at even strength. They moved the puck well in the first game, but they’ll need to start capitalizing on the chances they create.
  • The Golden Knights’ penalty kill has been very good against the Wild, not giving up a goal through 10 minutes in three games. They’ve given up just one high-danger chance against in those 10 minutes and 0.77 expected goals. The penalty kill will add talent if McNabb is back as well. McNabb, despite playing just seven games this season, is 10th on the team in penalty-kill minutes. Once he’s back he’ll look to be a mainstay on the penalty kill alongside Zach Whitecloud again.

How to watch

Time: 4 p.m.

TV: AT&T SportsNet, NHL Network

Radio: Fox Sports 98.9 FM/1340 AM