Tonight will be meeting six of the eight scheduled this season between the Golden Knights and Wild. So far, the Wild hold a slight edge having won three of the five games and have amassed seven points in the matchup compared to the Golden Knights’ five.
The Wild are currently the team Vegas has had the least amount of success against, especially defensively. The Golden Knights have allowed a total of 82 goals in 35 games, good for 2.34 goals against per game. Against the Wild, that number shoots up to 2.80 per game, about a half goal worse than their average and the highest of any VGK opponent.
One of the main reasons for this is the style of goals the Wild have been scoring against the Golden Knights. Unlike what we’ve seen from many other Vegas opponents this year, the Wild have harassed the Golden Knights goal crease, specifically at 5-on-5. Of their 10 5-on-5 goals, six of them have come with the puck sitting in the blue paint. Contrast that to Vegas, who have just one.
Minnesota likes to play a transition-style game in which they trade chances with their opponent, a style the Golden Knights deployed under Gallant the first season but have pivoted away from. That style usually leads to rush goals, which are typically scored a bit further away from the goal crease. But against Vegas, they’ve lived in the goal crease. When contrast to where the Golden Knights have gotten their goals, this is a bit concerning for not only tonight but a potential playoff series next month.
Quite simply, the Wild have scored from more replicable places on the ice than the Golden Knights have in the first five meetings.
Both sides of the ice are issues. It’s the defensive side that’s of bigger concern to me though.