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Wild Warmup: Minnesota vs. Vegas

Expansion Golden Knights come to St. Paul for first time Thursday

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers /
The essentials

Who: Vegas Golden Knighs (15-7-1) at Minnesota Wild (11-10-3)

Puck drop: 7:08 p.m. CT

Watch: FOX Sports North, FOX Sports GO

Listen: KFAN 100.3 FM, Wild Radio NetworkWild NHL App

Follow: @mnwild; GameCenter

The opponent

Perhaps the biggest surprise in the NHL so far this season, the expansion Vegas Golden Knights stand atop the Pacific Division standings 23 games into their first season.

Vegas has overcome a number of early obstacles, including an alarming number of injuries to goaltenders. Five different netminders have seen playing time this season, including four different players with at least three starts. The man who was counted on as the face of the franchise, Marc-Andre Fleury, hasn't played since Oct. 13 because of a concussion, but others have helped fill the void.

With Fleury and Malcolm Subban each missing time because of injury, Maxime Legace posted a 5-5-1 record with a 3.66 goals against and .870 save percentage. But Subban is back and has been outstanding this season, going 4-1-0 with a 2.09 goals against and .928 save percentage after being claimed off waivers from the Boston Bruins on Oct. 3.

William Karlsson, a former fourth liner with the Columbus Blue Jackets, leads the Golden Knights with 13 goals and 22 points. James Neal, who went to the Stanley Cup Finals with the Nashville Predators last season, has 12 goals and 19 points. Former Wild forward Erik Haula has seven goals and 13 points in 19 games. Another former Wild forward, Alex Tuch, has five goals and 10 points in 19 games.


• Wild forward Jason Zucker is a Las Vegas native and is the only player raised in Nevada to play in the NHL.

• Haula was selected by Minnesota in the seventh round (182nd overall) of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. He collected 89 points (42-47=89) in 266 games with the Wild in four seasons (2013-17).

• Tuch was drafted 18th overall by the Wild in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and made his NHL debut with Minnesota, skating in six games during the 2016-17 season.

• Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt hails from St. Cloud and played at the University of Minnesota (2010-13).

• Golden Knights defenseman Clayton Stoner was drafted by Minnesota in the third round (79th overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft and tallied 31 points (4-27=31) and 296 penalty in 227 games over five seasons with the Wild (2009-14).

What happens in Vegas

Entering play on Wednesday, the Golden Knights are tied with the Dallas Stars for the second-best record on home ice this season, posting a 9-2-0 mark at T-Mobile Arena.

But Vegas' luck hasn't just stayed there; the Golden Knights have also managed a winning record on the road, going 6-5-1 away from southern Nevada.

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