This is the seventh and final game between these two West Division rivals as the Wild will look to score the upset in Sin City against the Golden Knights. Let’s analyze this Game 7 matchup and keep cashing our NHL picks!
Minnesota Wild vs. Vegas Golden Knights
Friday, May 28, 2021 – 9:00 PM EDT at T-Mobile Arena
The Wild took command of the series with a 1-0 overtime win thanks to a sterling effort put forth by goalie Cam Talbot, who turned aside all 42 shots he faced. Joel Eriksson Ek’s goal at 3:20 of overtime lifted the wild to the victory but the euphoria in Minnesota was short-lived. The Knights would storm back with three consecutive wins and only needed one more to advance.
However, the Wild had other thoughts and were clearly bent on competing until the last puck drop. Minnesota went on to notch a 4-2 win in Game 5 followed by a 3-0 victory in Game 6. Now here we are, Game 7, and there are no tomorrows left for the loser of this contest.
If Friday night’s finale is anything like Game 6, we should see a close-checking affair with a focus on defense by both sides. As we look back at Wednesday’s game, we see that Minnesota and Vegas combined for only 47 shots on goal. The Wild ended with 24 shots while none of the Knights’ 23 shots found the back of the net, thanks to another fine performance by Cam Talbot.
The game was scoreless until the third period when Minnesota broke through with goals by Ryan Hartman, Kevin Fiala (power play), and Nick Bjugstad. The Wild defense stood up in this one after watching their white-hot netminder steal a Game 5 win by stopping 38 of 40 shots while Minnesota scored on four of only 14 shots.
“We’ve been playing like this all year long. When it comes down to it, when we need a big stand or a big game or a big period, we just always seem to find a way,” Talbot said.
During the second period, Wild forward Marcus Foligno, laid a huge hit on Vegas’ Zach Whitecloud that knocked loose a pane of glass. “Even though we didn’t score in that period, it just felt like the momentum was in our favor,” Foligno said. “So, that physicality is needed, just the wearing down of a team.”
Wanna Make a Bet?
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the NHL odds being dealt on this matchup show the Golden Knights as ranging between -160 and -165 home chalk at all of the best online sportsbooks. After all, that was pretty much the line in the three previous games at the T-Mobile Arena so why not in Game 7, right?
Well, I’m looking at the Wild like a fat guy looks at an all-you-can-eat buffet. The momentum is clearly in Minnesota’s favor, they have already won two of three at T-Mobile Arena in this series, Cam Talbot is playing like a man possessed, and the Golden Knights have injuries, most notably Max Pacioretty and Tomas Nosek. Even if those two do suit up for Friday night, how game-ready will either of them be?
After reaching the Stanley Cup Finals three years ago, the Knights are 2-8 in playoff games in which there was a chance for them to advance to the next round. And what’s also interesting is that the underdog Minnesota Wild holds a combined 8-6 regular and postseason series advantage heading into Friday night’s winner-take-all clash.
Lastly, Marc-Andre Fleury has been outplayed by his counter-number, Cam Talbot. MAF is not at his best and the Wild are playing a more physical brand of hockey that I believe has sapped some of Vegas’ speedy stars.
This game is much closer to a coin flip, yet, the oddsmakers are expecting some very public money to pour in on the home team, as evidenced by this line, and will make the squares pay for the privilege. Let’s jump on the other side and grab the road dog here that is giving us tremendous value on what should be a wildly entertaining Game 7 showdown.
NHL Pick: Wild +145 at Bet365