With five games to play in the 2021 regular season, the Minnesota Wild still have a chance to win the West Division.
Aside from breakout campaigns from rookie Kirill Kaprizov and forward Kevin Fiala, the biggest reason has been Minnesota’s dominance of the first-place Vegas Golden Knights.
The Wild have been victorious in their last five meetings with Vegas, most recently a 6-5 come-from-behind stunner Monday. Minnesota is just four points behind the Golden Knights and two points behind Colorado for second place.
Each of the last four contests between the Wild and Golden Knights have been decided by one goal, including a shootout win for Dean Evason’s squad April 1. It’s the longest active winning streak of one-goal games over a single opponent, tied with the New York Islanders (vs. Philadelphia), Montreal (vs. Vegas) and Chicago (vs. Ottawa).
It’s also the second-longest such streak in Wild team history, trailing by one game to Minnesota’s five straight wins over the Toronto Maple Leafs in one-goal games from March 23, 2015 - Dec. 7, 2016.
Minnesota, which has never lost at home in regulation (6-0-1) to the Golden Knights since the expansion franchise’s inaugural season in 2017-18, has been stellar in the final frame this season.
When taking a lead into the third period, the Golden Knights are 24-2-0. Guess who’s responsible for the two losses? That’s right, the Wild.
Down 5-3 heading into the third period Monday, Minnesota scored three goals, including two in the final 92 seconds, to steal a 6-5 win. The Wild also erased a 1-0 deficit with a pair of third-period goals by Kaprizov and Joel Eriksson Ek on April 3.
Vegas is 1-2 against the Wild when taking a lead into the final period and 23-0 against the rest of the West division.
Bally Sports North will televise the eighth and final regular-season matchup between Minnesota and Vegas on Wednesday night, with “Wild Live” beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Statistics courtesy Sportradar