The Minnesota Wild’s season is on the line again Wednesday night when they host the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 6 of their West Division first-round playoff series. Which way to lean at the best online sportsbooks?
Vegas Golden Knights vs. Minnesota Wild
Wednesday, May 26, 2021 – 09:00 PM EDT at Xcel Energy Center
Wednesday is a spectacular night of Stanley Cup playoff action around the NHL with three Games 6s – in the first two games, the home teams can clinch the series, while in the finale the Minnesota Wild look to force a Game 7 back in Las Vegas but are underdogs on the NHL odds. A potential Game 7 would be Friday night.
The winner of this series would face the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Colorado Avalanche, and this writer thinks the Avs beat either of these clubs in no more than six. Colorado is the favorite to win the Cup at +250. Vegas is +550 to win its first Cup and Minnesota is +5000 to win its first.
To make it to the Cup Finals, the Golden Knights are +275 and the Wild +3000. Vegas made its lone Cup Final in 2018 as an expansion team and lost to Washington. Minnesota is one of four active franchises along with Columbus, Winnipeg and Arizona to never play in a Cup. Neither the Blue Jackets nor Coyotes made the 2021 playoffs, while the Jets already have moved on to the North Division final after sweeping out the Oilers in Round 1. The Minnesota North Stars reached a few Cup Finals, but those count under the umbrella of the Dallas Stars franchise now.
The underdog is 5-2 in the past seven between these teams.
Knights Couldn’t Make Home History
The Golden Knights were looking to close a playoff series out at home for the first time in franchise history on Monday, but it didn’t work out.
Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury had set a personal record of 13 straight games allowing two goals or fewer, but that was over by 16:34 of the first period on Monday in the Knights’ 4-2 upset loss. They may end up kicking themselves for not closing this out ASAP if they end up advancing to face the Avalanche, who now get that much more rest and preparation.
Mark Stone’s fourth goal of the playoffs gave the Knights a 1-0 lead at 8:14 of the first, but the Wild tied it in less than a minute. Defenseman Alec Martinez was in question with an injury but did play and had a power-play goal at 9:43 of the second to make it 3-2.
The Knights have been without regular-season goal-scoring leader Max Pacioretty all series due to an injury and the team continues to say he’s simply day-to-day. Fellow winger Tomas Nosek was hurt in Game 2 and hasn’t played since; he’s also day-to-day. Aren’t we all? On the bright side of Monday’s loss, the Knights outshot the Wild a whopping 40-14, including 22-1 in the second period.
Talbot Rescues Wild
Entering these playoffs, a total of 29 teams have rallied from 3-1 down in the playoffs since 1942 – which is what Minnesota is trying to do. The Wild totaled just four goals in the first four game of the series to trail 3-0 but then exploded for four in Monday’s 4-2 victory in Vegas. Three of those came in a shocking first period, while the fourth was an empty-netter.
"Hopefully it's something we can feel good about," said Wild veteran Zach Parise. "I think Fleury has played really well for them all series, and for us to get three past him in the first, and at least make us feel good about heading back home to a place we've played well."
There were four different goal-scorers, all their first of these playoffs: Kirill Kaprizov (who may win the Calder Trophy as NHL Rookie of the Year from the regular season), Parise, Jordan Greenway (the eventual winner) and Nico Sturm. Mats Zuccarello registered an assist, which was important because he had been scoreless in the series after 11 goals and 35 points in the regular season.
Wild netminder Cam Talbot had played quite well this series but had been overshadowed by Vegas’ Marc-Andre Fleury. However, Talbot was sensational in Game 5 with 38 saves, the second-most by a Wild goaltender when facing elimination. Manny Fernandez had 43 saves in the 2003 conference quarterfinals.
Blueliner Carson Soucy missed Game 5 with an upper-body injury and was replaced by Calen Addison, who had an assist in 13:18. Soucy is questionable for Game 6.
Minnesota is 23-11 in its past 34 on NHL picks playing one day of rest. We say the Wild force a Game 7.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.