After sputtering into their bye week and the All-Star break, the Vegas Golden Knights pulled out their secret weapon.
The Knights, who had lost four in a row on the road and seven of their eight previous games, returned from their nine-day break with a 5-1 victory at Nashville on Tuesday in the first half of their two-game dads trip.
The Golden Knights, who moved back into first place in the tightly bunched Pacific Division with the victory while also improving to 6-0-1 all-time in dads trip games, will try to keep that point streak in front of their fathers alive when they face the Minnesota Wild on Thursday in Saint Paul, Minn.
“It’s big,” forward William Carrier, who had a goal and an assist in the win over the Predators, said of having the fathers along on the trip. “It’s great to have them around. It just makes the energy level go high. It’s great to have them here, especially this road trip. Nashville and Minnesota are tough barns.”
Vegas dominated the win over the Predators, holding Nashville to just six shots on goal in the first 49 minutes, including only two in the second period. Golden Knights goaltender Adin Hill ended up with 16 saves.
“I liked where our mindset was,” Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy said. “I thought all our lines were ready to go. Our (defense) was engaged. They were holding their gaps.”
Vegas finished with 12 takeaways, 16 blocked shots and just four giveaways.
“We managed pucks well for most of the night,” Cassidy said. “Our giveaways were really low and our takeaways were high. Usually that means you are taking care of the puck in the neutral zone.”
Hill added, “I thought we had a great game. (On) plays where pucks were hitting bodies in front, we always got our stick there first. We always had the right body position in front of the net and our guys did a phenomenal job. We had a lot of blocked shots tonight, so that paid off.”
While the Golden Knights spent Wednesday holding a curling tournament with their fathers in Saint Paul, the Wild dropped their second road game in three nights, falling 4-1 to the Dallas Stars.
It was the fifth loss in the past seven games for Minnesota, which slipped out of third place in the Central Division and into the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
The good news for the Wild is they play their next seven games at the Xcel Energy Center, where they are 7-0-2 all-time against the Golden Knights, including a 3-0 win last season.
Minnesota, which blew a 2-1, third-period lead in a 3-2 loss at Arizona on Monday, fell behind 3-0 midway through the second period at Dallas before Joel Eriksson Ek scored a power-play goal with 1:44 to go in the middle frame. Roope Hintz sealed the win for the Stars, who got 38 saves from Jake Oettinger, with an empty-netter.
“We just didn’t find a way to score,” Wild coach Dean Evason said. “We’re doing a lot of real good things. A lot of positives in this hockey game. We have to obviously stay as positive as we can. We play (Thursday) night.”
Minnesota defenseman Jake Middleton added, “We’re pissed. There’s really no other way to put it at this point. We know we’re not in that third spot anymore and the coming weeks are pretty important. We have to play desperate for the next stretch here.”
–Field Level Media