The Arizona Coyotes travel to Minnesota for the third and final stop on their three-game road trip. It’s been a budding success for the Coyotes thus far, as they topped the red-hot Washington Capitals in a shootout and then did the same the very next night against the Blues in St. Louis. Sweeping a back-to-back is difficult enough, but doing it vs the Capitals and Blues on the road is awfully impressive.
Overtime and shootouts can be a toss up that can go either way, and both games could have definitely gone to other side, though defeating the Capitals and Blues on the road is no mistake. The effort was a tremendous way to respond following a blown game against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday. With a 3-1 lead, the Coyotes watched that evaporate into a 4-3 loss.
It was a very uncharacteristic game for the Coyotes. A 2-goal lead has usually been lights out time for the opposition. However, the Wild did an excellent job not giving up on the road. In any case, the Coyotes are feeling good going into Thursday with a record of 11-6-2. That has them competing with the best that the Western Conference has to offer.
Arizona head into Thursday with 24 points to put them 2 behind the Edmonton Oilers in the Pacific Division. I don’t know if this is their season to go on a big playoff run, but the future is nevertheless bright in the desert for the Coyotes. They have a plethora of young talent led by Clayton Keller and Nick Schmaltz. Adding Phil Kessel to the equation was a nice move to give the team a veteran in the locker room to provide some guidance. He’s not the player he used to be, but Kessel is aware of his role on this team.
It’s been slow going for the Wild to start the season, though they’ve looked good in spurts. They were unable to build on that comeback win against the Coyotes, as they fell by a score of 3-1 in their most recent outing in Los Angeles. Head below for our free Coyotes vs. Wild pick.
Arizona Coyotes vs. Minnesota Wild Betting Odds:
The Matchup and Prediction:
The Wild weren’t shy about trying to improve in the offseason and ultimately were able to lure Mats Zuccarello to Minnesota. He grabbed a five-year $30 million deal from the Wild after the Stars failed to offer him an extension. His stay in Dallas was quick, and considering the slow start he’s had in Minnesota, they can’t be feeling too bad about passing up on him.
That said, Zuccarello was recently on a five-game point streak after getting just 1 point in his first seven games in Minnesota. It’s still incredibly early into his contract, so this isn’t a time to overreact. The biggest issue for the Wild hasn’t been Zuccarello, though. Their defensive play has been fairly erratic, and the goaltending has been less than ideal.
Neither Devan Dubnyk nor Alex Stalock have seized the opportunity between the pipes. Dubnyk, who is listed as probable to start tonight, has not looked like a starting netminder. He carries a 3.43 GAA and 0.893 save percentage in 12 appearances. Stalock has been better with a 2.85 GAA and 0.903 save percentage. Better but not what you want from a full-time option in the crease.
The Wild are 26th in the NHL with 3.5 goals against per game. And at home it’s been slightly worse than that as well, with 3.69 goals allowed per contest. Fortunately enough, the offence has shown up to entertain the fans with an average of 3.8 goals at home. In fact, Minnesota haven’t scored fewer than 3 goals at Xcel Energy Center yet this season.
The road is a different story, though the Wild have shown up to score at home. Arizona will present a formidable challenge for the offence tonight, though. However, they didn’t have any problems getting to the Coyotes’ net for 4 goals on Saturday, and now they get them at home in Minnesota where the offence hasn’t scored less than 3 goals in 2019-20.
The Coyotes have regressed defensively since that hot start, too. They’ve allowed 2.7 goals per game in their previous ten games, which isn’t bad, but we just might want to wait before calling them an elite defensive squad. And at the end of a road trip following games against the Capitals and Blues, I could see the Coyotes not being as sharp in their own zone with fatigue beginning to set in. The UNDER will likely be the more popular play here, but juiced at -135 doesn’t look like good value at all. A 4-2 final would give us a nice winner on the OVER at +115 on Thursday.