Few teams have been able to show up in Vegas and slow down the Golden Knights, who have corralled 50 of their 95 points at T-Mobile Arena.
But the team has fallen into a rut of late, dropping three in a row at home with its most recent setback an 8-3 rout to the Devils.
And in its first trip to Vegas this season, the Wild will try to extend that rough patch for the Golden Knights Friday.
“Any time a teamloses 8-3 in their own building and their All-Star goalie is pulled and they get four scored on in the first period, I gotta believe they’re going to be cognizant of how they start in the first period the next game,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “We just happen to be the next team. At least we’re aware. To me, that’s great we’re aware how they’re going to come out. We should be able to act accordingly.”
The Wild will debut a different lineup to tackle the Golden Knights.
This will be the first game without defenseman Jared Spurgeon, who’s out at least a month with a partial tear in his right hamstring. And backup Alex Stalock will start the first half of a back-to-back that concludes Saturday in Arizona against the Coyotes – a matchup Devan Dubnyk is poised to handle.
“Devan’s had success against Arizona, and Alex really hasn’t,” Boudreau said.
Although this is the team’s first game in Vegas, Friday’s morning skate wasn’t the first time it’s been on the ice inside T-Mobile Arena. The team practiced there Thursday to help it get familiar with the rink.
“That’s one of the reasons we wanted to practice here to see what the boards’ reaction was, the glass reaction was and just how the ice was,” Boudreau said. “It was important that we see those things.”
Zach Parise-Mikko Koivu-Mikael Granlund
Jason Zucker-Eric Staal-Nino Niederreiter
Tyler Ennis-Matt Cullen-Charlie Coyle
Marcus Foligno-Joel Eriksson Ek-Zack Mitchell
Ryan Suter-Matt Dumba
Jonas Brodin-Ryan Murphy
Nick Seeler-Nate Prosser
2: Wins for the Wild in its previous two meetings with Vegas.
4: Goals for center Eric Staal against the Golden Knights.
5: Points for forward Charlie Coyle during a four-game point streak.
24-8-2: Vegas’ record on home ice.
27: Goals for former Wild winger Eric Haula.
About the Golden Knights:
Arguably the best story in the NHL this season, the Golden Knights continue to close in on their first playoff berth in just the franchise’s first season. The most successful expansion team in league history, the Golden Knights pace the Pacific Division with 95 points. Five players have more than 20 goals, and six have reached the 40-point plateau. Center William Karlsson is at the helm of this success, with 36 goals and 62 points. Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has been solid, going 25-10-3 with a .927 save percentage and 2.24 goals-against average.