The final two games before the All-Star break commence on Wednesday night, as the Jets and Blue Jackets meet in Columbus, while the Red Wings and Wild are in Minnesota at the Xcel Energy Center. It’s been a slow week leading up to the All-Star break, with only a handful of games to dive into. The Red Wings have been featured a couple of times this week, and they’ll take the spotlight tonight in Minnesota against the Wild.
It doesn’t make for the best TV for NBC, but the Red Wings are still an Original Six team who have a solid fan base. The Wild are not an Original Six team, they’ve only been around since 1997 despite Minnesota being one of the best states for hockey in the US. The Minnesota North Stars left for Dallas in 1993, but the city didn’t have to wait long for hockey’s return to the state. They’ve had some good and bad years since 1997, though have yet to get over the hump and reach a Stanley Cup Final.
It’s unlikely to come in 2020 as well. The Wild enter Wednesday with a record of 22-21-6 and 50 points. That gets them absolutely nothing in the Central Division, as they’re last in the division, a point behind the Predators. There are no freebies handed out in the NHL, that much is for certain. Bruce Boudreau is coaching for his job over the next couple of months. Considering how trigger happy NHL GM’s have been this season, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him gone before then, though. A loss against the Red Wings in this spot would maybe accelerate that ultimatum.
The Wild coughed up what should have been a win on Monday night. With a lead late, the Florida Panthers not only tied the game up, but they proceeded to win in regulation thanks to a Noel Acciari goal with 6 seconds left on the clock. Bad loss and a missed opportunity for the Wild to collect at least a point. They need all the points they can get at this point, and that was not a good look for them.
Perhaps a better goaltending situation for the Wild, and we’re not talking about Boudreau’s job on the line. Alex Stalock is a career backup trying to act as a starter, while Devan Dubnyk’s head clearly isn’t on hockey this season. He continues to share time between the team and home, as his wife continues to go through issues with her health. When he is with the team, it’s unlikely his mind is completely there. Dubnyk is scheduled to play on Wednesday night. Head below for our free Red Wings vs. Wild pick.
Detroit Red Wings vs. Minnesota Wild Betting Odds:
Red Wings vs. Wild Prediction:
The Wild must hope that Dubnyk hits his stride and gets something going after the All-Star break. The roster isn’t talented enough to get by with anything less. The defence has been taking a beating recently, and Dubnyk must begin to focus for the Wild to go on a run and threaten for a wildcard in the second-half. Dubnyk enters this one with some shaky numbers on the year.
He owns a 3.35 GAA and 0.892 save percentage, which is well off from his career 2.57 GAA and 0.915 save percentage. Dubnyk hasn’t played since allowing 7 goals against the Penguins just over a week ago. In his last two games, he’s allowed a total of 10 goals on 58 shots. Dating back to December 27th, Dubnyk has gotten tagged for at least 3 goals in five of six games.
Minnesota are 27th in the NHL with 3.31 goals against per game. In their last ten games, they’ve surrendered equally the same number of goals with 3.3 goals per game. That will certainly have to improve greatly if the Wild are going to be competing for a playoff spot. They may be last in the Central, but there’s still an opening there for them, as unlikely as it is for the Wild.
The defensive effort hasn’t improved an ounce at Xcel Energy Center. In fact, they’ve actually gotten worse and allowed 3.73 goals per game. Fortunately for the Wild, this is likely to be irrelevant against the worst defence in the NHL, especially on the road. The Red Wings have gotten smacked for 3.88 goals allowed per game for 31st in the NHL. It doesn’t get any worse than that. The only way it gets worse is when the Red Wings head on the road.
Detroit has put together an embarrassing group of games when they do hit the road. They’ve yielded 4.25 goals per game defensively on the road. In their previous two games alone, the Wings have allowed 10 goals, and an average of 5 goals surrendered in their last five games. And while the Wild defence has been struggling, their offence has played well at the Xcel Energy Center.
Minnesota has scored an average of 3.3 goals per game at home, and are riding a hot run with 11 goals scored in their previous two outings. It should be easy for them against the worst defensive unit in the NHL tonight. The Wild look like the play here, but not at that price. Even as a regulation bet, the odds are a little too heavy for me. In any event, there should be enough total goals to get this matchup OVER the total.