The Minnesota Wild are enjoying life right now with their new head coach. Following the firing of Mike Yeo, the Wild have responded to John Torchetti. At this pace, the interim head coach might find himself as the full-time guy beyond the bench. However, there is a ways to go, he has only taken the head coaching job over four games ago, a nice 4-0 run for the Wild to thrust them back into contention. The season looked like it was in the toilet, but the quick decision by Wild management to pull the cord on Yeo has paid off. Specifically, the offense has come to life. We don’t know where this came from, but suddenly the Wild are looking like the best offense in the NHL. This nice run of games for Minnesota hit its apex the other night, as the Wild blew the Blackhawks out in a Stadium Series game outdoors.
It was the best win the Wild have had all year, a 6-1 win over the Blackhawks, who have thoroughly controlled them in the playoffs, though. I’m not so sure the Hawks care too much about the loss considering how they have dominated the Wild when it matters most in the postseason. The Wild should be in a position to contend for the playoffs. But there isn’t really much room for error. I see them as just making it or just being on the outside. The Wild are currently 27-22-8. The New York Islanders are next on the docket for the Wild, who will look to make it five in a row. The Isles are 5-2 in their last seven games, so this should be a pretty good matchup of two teams who are vying for the playoffs. The Isles are coming off a 1-0 win over the Devils. All it took was 1 goal and Halak took care of the rest in net. Tonight it appears it will be a Halak vs. Dubnyk showdown in Minnesota. Let’s get straight to the pick for tonight.
N.Y. Islanders vs. Minnesota Wild NHL Pick
The Wild offense has been something to behold lately. They have scored 21 goals in four games, since Yeo was ditched. That makes for an average of 5.25 goals in four games. They couldn’t get anything to find the back of the net before, but they’ve looked like a totally different team since the coaching change. This isn’t going to last for the next few months, but this was imperative for the Wild if they want to find the playoffs. The Wild are 14th in the league with 2.64 goals scored per game. They are 21st defensively, allowing 2.47 goals a game.
The Islanders and Wild have been mere images of themselves defensively. The Isles have allowed 2.47 goals a game on offense as well. The difference here is the fact that Islanders have had the more consistent offense. Like I said, the Wild have been real hot, but this hasn’t been an all-season event, they responded after their head coach was kicked to the curb. I think this better effort by the Wild is accredited to the fact that the players realized how terrible they truly were playing. Note that Minnesota lost 8 straight games before Yeo was fired. The Wild are coming off the Stadium Series win against the Hawks, a huge 6-1 win. I see this as a letdown spot for the Wild. This looks like a great spot for the Islanders to walk right in and snap their four-game winning streak. The plus money on the Islanders definitely makes this bet an enticing one.
PICK: ISLANDERS TO WIN +112