The Minnesota Wild will bring the NHL’s longest winning streak with them to Las Vegas where they begin a back-to-back with the West Division-leading Vegas Golden Knights on Monday night.
Minnesota, which is tied for second-place with St. Louis and one point behind Vegas, won its sixth straight game in dramatic fashion on Saturday night. Defenseman Matt Dumba scored the game-winner with less than a second left in overtime to give the Wild a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings in Saint Paul, Minn.
“This is going to be a great test coming up with Minnesota,” said Vegas coach Peter DeBoer. “They’re playing very well right now and really running through some good teams. So great test for us coming up this week at home.”
Four of the wins in Minnesota’s streak have come on the road including identical 6-2 victories at San Jose and Colorado. The Wild also swept a back-to-back with the Ducks in Anaheim to start the streak and just finished a home sweep of a Los Angeles team that brought its own six-game win streak with it to Minnesota.
Minnesota, which had blown a 3-0 lead, kept its streak alive on Dumba’s franchise-record sixth career overtime winner off a brilliant assist from Mats Zuccarello.
Zuccarello was still at the red line with six seconds left in overtime when he passed the puck ahead to Jordan Greenway inside the blue line. Greenway immediately returned the pass back to Zuccarello who then drove to the left-wing boards where he was swarmed by four Kings defenders. He then quickly spun around and backhanded a pass to Dumba breaking in alone in the slot. Dumba then deked goalie Cal Peterson and barely beat the clock with a forehand shot into the top right corner of the net.
“Eyes in the back of his head,” Dumba said of Zuccarello’s pass. “I don’t know how he saw me through all those guys but it was a helluva pass.
“I had no clue how much time was on the clock. I knew it was winding down. … Then you get swarmed by the fellas. That’s a feeling that if anyone gets to experience, it’s one of the best.”
The six-game winning streak is Minnesota’s longest since a 12-game streak from Dec. 4 to Dec. 29 in 2016 that ranks as the longest in franchise history. The Wild actually moved into first place in the West for about 90 minutes before Vegas leapfrogged back into the top spot with an overtime victory of its own, 3-2, at Anaheim.
William Karlsson scored two goals including the winner at 3:23 into overtime and Alex Pietrangelo added a goal and an assist for the Golden Knights, who will bring a two-game win streak into Monday night’s contest. Marc-Andre Fleury had 28 saves for his 100th win with the Golden Knights, becoming the 15th goaltender in NHL history to win 100 games with two franchises.
“He’s been consistently our best player,” said DeBoer of Fleury who also won 375 games and three Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins. “I thought he was excellent again tonight. What are you going to say? I thought a couple of those saves in overtime to keep us in the game and give us an opportunity to win it were vintage (Fleury).”
Monday night’s game will be the first this season with fans allowed at T-Mobile Arena. Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak’s updated Road to Recovery plan will allow about 15 percent, or 2,600 fans, to attend the contest.
–Field Level Media