The Wild Beat
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Two losses last week weren't the only reason why the Wild hasn't been able to climb out of third place in the West Division.

The teams the Wild is chasing have been winning lately to stay ahead, especially the Golden Knights, but the Wild can slow down that momentum Monday when it hosts first-place Vegas at Xcel Energy Center.

"They're a good team," coach Dean Evason said. "We think we're a good team. They play the game hard. They play right, no different than the team we just played. It could go either way most nights."

Cam Talbot will be back in net for the Wild after backing up Kaapo Kahkonen on Saturday when the Wild rallied for a 4-3 overtime win against the Blues. Talbot is 2-1-1 this season vs. Vegas, and one of those wins was one of his best performances of the season – a 35-save effort in a 3-2 shootout win on April 1.

The rest of the Wild's lineup will remain the same from Saturday.

Marcus Johansson missed the game due to an upper-body injury; he skated Monday morning and is fine, Evason said, but the team wants to get him "some good quality ice" before deciding when he should return.

Although the Wild moved Nico Sturm up to the Kevin Fiala and Victor Rask line in the third period Saturday, Evason said the team likes Sturm at center – which suggests he'll be back up the middle anchoring the fourth line against the Golden Knights.

Projected lineup:

Jordan Greenway-Joel Eriksson Ek-Marcus Foligno

Kirill Kaprizov- Ryan Hartman-Mats Zuccarello

Kevin Fiala-Victor Rask-Nick Bjugstad

Zach Parise-Nico Sturm-Nick Bonino

Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin-Matt Dumba

Carson Soucy-Ian Cole

Cam Talbot

Key numbers:

4: Wins for the Wild in six games this season vs. Vegas.

3: Goals by winger Marcus Foligno in four games this year against the Golden Knights.

11: Points for Fiala over his past seven games.

8: Points for rookie Kirill Kaprizov in his last eight games.

199: Career points for Rask.

About the Golden Knights:

Vegas is sitting atop the West Division with 74 points, four ahead of No. 2 Colorado and six in front of the No. 3 Wild. The Golden Knights have won 11 of their past 12 games, most recently prevailing 3-2 in overtime on Saturday at Arizona. Vegas is just the fourth NHL team to make the playoffs in each of its first four seasons. The Golden Knights are 4-9-1 vs. the Wild since they entered the league. Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has 489 career wins, which is tied with Roberto Luongo for third all-time in NHL history.