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With five games to play in the 2021 regular season, the Minnesota Wild still have a chance to win the West Division.

How?

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.

NHL STANDINGS - WEST DIVISION
TEAM GP W-L-OTL PTS
Golden Knights 51 36-13-2 74
Avalanche 50 34-12-4 72
Wild 51 33-14-4 70
Blues 50 24-19-7 55
Coyotes 53 22-25-6 50
Kings 50 20-24-6 46
Sharks 52 20-26-6 46
Ducks 53 16-30-7 39

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