2 Minutes with Gawlik              
Photo Credit: Knights On Ice

FSM Essential Preview: Golden Knights vs. Wild- Game 18

Franchise Sports Media



Well people, it is finally here. The Vegas Golden Knights have opened T-Mobile Arena to fans for the first time in almost a year.


Golden Knights vs Wild              
Photo Credit: HockeyWilderness.com

Since the NHL had shut down last year on March 12th, VGK fans have had to cheer their team on from a distance. Starting today, the Knights will be allowing fans to enter the arena in a limited capacity to cheer their team on and restore some life into a building that has been laying dormant for what seems like forever. While it will not be a sold-out arena like years past, the fact that the players will hear organic cheers from spectators compared to the pumped-in crowd noise will be a welcome change of pace, to say the least. Even with a reduced capacity, I do not doubt that Knights fans will show up dressed in their favorite gear and with a few cocktails in their bellies, ready to erupt when that first VGK goal is scored.

T-Mobile Arena will allow fans in 15% capacity of the total 18,485 seats that are normally available. If my math is correct, that puts the number of seats available at 2,772. Even with the reduced number of fans being let in, I do not doubt that the Fortress will be loud and rowdy as VGK fans seem to bring special energy with them that I have yet to experience at any other NHL arena. I do not say that lightly either, as I have been to my fair share of arenas around the country and have yet to see the experience that T-Mobile offers matched. The timing could not be any better as the Knights will be taking on a particularly good Minnesota Wild team that has surpassed expectations so far this season, so the added energy from having fans in the building will undoubtedly be beneficial.


The surging Minnesota Wild will come into the Fortress riding a six-game winning streak that has launched them to second place in the division with a record of 12-6-0, worth 24 points in the standings.


I have been able to watch their past two games, and I have to say, they look like a formidable opponent right now. The Wild’s ability to hem their opponents into their own zone leads to a multitude of high-quality chances where they consistently crash the net and maintain a presence in front of the opposing goalie on a constant basis. The Knights would be wise to limit the time spent in their own zone and focus on having quick outlet passes to prevent the Wild from setting up. An additional thing I noticed about the Wild’s defensive game is that they have no problem collapsing all five skaters down low. This forces their opponents to take low-quality shots from the perimeter and limit their ability to create a net-front presence in front of their own net.


One thing I believe will be especially important for the Knights tonight is their ability to generate speed through the neutral zone.


If VGK can have quick outlet passes from their own zone and generate speed between the blue lines, it will go a long way in preventing the Wild from setting up defensively and enacting their game plan. One of the Knights strengths has been their transition game and their ability to generate speed through quick puck movement. So, look for them to put Minnesota on their heels quickly if all goes according to plan. If things do not go according to plan, they always have Marc Andre Fleury to hold things down between the pipes as he is currently ranked fifth among all NHL goaltenders at the time of writing. To those going to the game tonight, stay safe and have a few drinks for me while you cheer on the greatest show in Vegas!


The Vegas Golden Knights will resume play Monday evening taking on the Minnesota Wild at T-Mobile Arena in front of their fans for the first time in almost a year. The puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. and will be on AT&T Sportsnet and FOX Sports Las Vegas 98.9/1340.


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-D.J. Wood– Franchise Sports Media

Follow D.J. on Twitter @DJwoody97

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