LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- All season long the Golden Knights have been in a battle with the Colorado Avalanche for first place in the Honda West Division. However, the Minnesota Wild have worked their way into that conversation in the final stretch of the regular season.
"We're in a playoff mode here right now," said Golden Knights head coach, Pete DeBoer. "For me the next five games are against playoff teams, two Minnesota, two St. Louis and then Colorado, so good opponents. We want to make sure our game is in the right place against good teams and this is that stretch we can make sure it is. I think the wins and the points will take care of themselves if we take care of that. It's important, but for me, big picture-wise, I want to make sure our game is in a good place and if we do that, the points will be there."
With six games left of their schedule the Golden Knights enter Monday four points ahead of the Avalanche in the division and six points clear of the Wild. Colorado has seven games left, Minnesota has six.
"We said it from the start if you lose it's not two points, it's a four point difference, they move up two, you don't move at all," said Golden Knights forward, Alex Tuch. "It's huge, we have to jump out to a good start tonight and we need to come away with some points here. We've struggled in their building honestly, not only this year, but in years past too, coming out with one or two wins here would be great."
The Golden Knights have enjoyed a lot wins in their first four seasons in the NHL, but that success has not seemed to translate in St. Paul. The Golden Knights are just 1-5 all-time inside Xcel Energy Center, having never won in regulation. The VGK have an overall record of just 4-9-1 against the Wild and have lost four straight in the series.
"I'm a big believer that the playoffs are a completely different animal," said DeBoer. "I've gone into playoff series where a team hasn't won in another teams building and all of a sudden can't lose in another teams building. Obviously, you want to feel good both playing on the road in another teams building and your record against that team, but it's not always realistic and not always the defining statistic in my history in the playoffs."