The Minnesota Wild have already beat the conference upstarts and the defending Stanley Cup champions this week.
Now it’s a matchup with the Best in the West.
The Wild, who are coming off wins over Seattle and Colorado on Monday and Wednesday, respectively, will try to build on an already impressive week with a road matchup against Vegas on Saturday night.
Vegas leads the Western Conference with 99 points, two points ahead of the Wild and the Golden Knights’ Pacific Division rivals, Edmonton.
Minnesota looks to maintain its lead in the Central Division and also, if things go the Wild’s way, clinch a spot in the NHL playoffs.
The game is also the first of a home-and-home matchup between the teams, a series that wraps up at the Xcel Energy Center on Monday.
The Golden Knights beat the Wild 5-1 on Feb. 9 in the only matchup so far this season between the teams.
Minnesota has a 12-5-3 lead in the all-time series, including a 5-4-1 mark in Vegas.
But the Wild have been tough wherever they have played lately. The 4-2 win over the Avalanche extended the Wild’s streak to 11 straight road games of earning a point (8-0-3). It’s the third-longest in franchise history and also the third-longest in the NHL this season.
Freddy Gaudreau had two shorthanded goals against the Avalanche to give him four for the season. Minnesota has 11 shorthanded goals as a team this season, the second most in franchise history, just behind the 13 the Wild scored in 2000-01.
A key to the Wild’s steak has been the team’s defense. Minnesota has a .938 saves percentage and 2.08 goals against average on the road since Feb. 23. Both stats rank first in the league in that time span.
Minnesota has been hot in the second half of the schedule overall.
Minnesota also is 17-2-5 since Feb. 11 and have a NHL-best in that time period. The team also is 10-1-3 over the past month and is tied for second with 23 points in that time span and also fourth in wins.
And the Wild have done it without their best player, who remains sidelined with an injury but who also became the latest friend of the Minnesota Timberwolves mascot, Crunch