The Wild Beat
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LAS VEGAS – First place in the West Division is up for grabs Monday when the Wild kicks off a four-game road trip against the Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

The Golden Knights currently hold the top spot and are only one point ahead of the Wild.

"We'll be ready," winger Zach Parise said. "We're excited about the challenge, and these guys have been one of the best teams in the West since they started. We're excited about it, to see how we match up against them, and we'll give it out best."

Vegas will face goalie Cam Talbot, who made 27 saves Friday during a win over Los Angeles that was Talbot's return from the NHL's COVID protocols. Talbot will be backed up by Kaapo Kahkonen, whose role in the NHL was solidified Monday morning after Edmonton scooped Alex Stalock off waivers.

NHL standings

"I don't think he's surprised anyone," coach Dean Evason said. "I think we watched his development and talked about his development last year, clearly. We saw him in games last year for us, so we've had a firsthand look last year of what was going on with him and how he was playing the game. Clearly, he's continuing to do that this year."

The rest of the Wild lineup will remain the same, as Marcus Johansson (upper-body injury) did not make the trip.

"We're not super concerned," Evason said about Johansson's situation.

Projected lineup:

Jordan Greenway-Joel Eriksson Ek-Kevin Fiala

Kirill Kaprizov-Victor Rask-Mats Zuccarello

Zach Parise-Ryan Hartman-Marcus Foligno

Nico Sturm-Nick Bonino-Nick Bjugstad

Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin-Matt Dumba

Carson Soucy-Ian Cole

Cam Talbot

Key numbers:

6: Straight wins by the Wild is tied for the longest win streak in the NHL this season.

18: Wild players with at least a point over the last six games.

27: Goals for the Wild during its win streak.

11: Points for winger Mats Zuccarello over his past six games.

1-1: Record for the Wild vs. Vegas in 2019-20.

About the Golden Knights:

Vegas has played just once over the previous six days, a 3-2 overtime win against Anaheim on Saturday. The Golden Knights were supposed to also face San Jose last Thursday, but that game was postponed after the Sharks' Tomas Hertl entered the NHL's COVID protocols. Overall, Vegas has won two in a row after dropping two games to Colorado. Winger Mark Stone leads the Golden Knights in points with 17. Fellow winger Max Pacioretty has a team-high eight goals.