LAS VEGAS – The stakes are familiar, but the stage isn't.
After getting behind 3-1 in this best-of-seven series against the Golden Knights, the Wild is still trying to stave off elimination. But now that's also the objective for Vegas, as both teams will collide for a winner-takes-all Game 7 on Friday night to advance to the second round of the playoffs and face Colorado.
"The message is clearly the same as the last few games," coach Dean Evason said. "There has to be some desperation, one win at a time, and we have to have some fun out there."
This will be the first Game 7 at T-Mobile Arena in Vegas but the third straight year in which the Golden Knights have played in a Game 7.
Last year, Vegas prevailed against Vancouver in the Edmonton playoff bubble. The season before that, the Golden Knights lost in San Jose to become the last team in the NHL to blow a 3-1 series lead.
Vegas wants to use the energy from the crowd, and the Wild is expecting the Golden Knights to have a strong start.
"We have to match that or exceed it for us to have success tonight," Evason said. "There's no secrets. You get to this point and there's no secrets about what's going on. On the other side, I'm sure there's no secrets for us for them. It's going to be a great hockey game. We're all looking forward to it. It'll be fun."
The Wild has participated in three Game 7s in its history and won all three – on the road.
Four players from the Wild's last Game 7 in 2014 vs. the Avalanche, a 5-4 overtime win, are expected to be in the Wild's lineup on Friday: winger Zach Parise and defensemen Jared Spurgeon, Ryan Suter and Jonas Brodin.
"For the guys that were here that were part of that game, it was just comeback after comeback, just no quit out of the guys," Parise said. "It'll be the same thing tonight. Regardless how the game starts, how it is happening through the game, we play all the way to the end and give ourselves the best chance."
Evason said it's possible the Wild has some game-time decisions ahead of puck drop, but it looks like the Wild could stick with the same lineup it's used the past two games. Carson Soucy, who's missed those games with an upper-body injury, skated Friday morning in Vegas and is progressing, Evason said, but is not available to play.
Jordan Greenway-Joel Eriksson Ek-Marcus Foligno
Kirill Kaprizov- Victor Rask-Mats Zuccarello
Zach Parise-Ryan Hartman-Kevin Fiala
Nick Bonino-Nico Sturm-Nick Bjugstad
Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin-Matt Dumba
Ian Cole-Calen Addison
3: Wins for the Wild in three Game 7s in team history.
2: Game 7s for the Wild decided in overtime.
3: Points for winger Mats Zuccarello in four career Game 7s.
1-1: Record for the Golden Knights in Game 7.
3-4: Record for Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury in Game 7.
About the Golden Knights:
Vegas forward Ryan Reaves and defenseman Brayden McNabb are in the NHL's COVID protocols. Golden Knights coach Pete DeBoer said Friday morning the team is awaiting further results to determine if both players had false positives. Fleury is the expected starter for Vegas. DeBoer is a perfect 5-0 in Game 7s. Defensemen Alex Pietrangelo and Alec Martinez (4-0) are also undefeated.