What did I say about the Dallas Stars? I am confident in their offense, but the goaltending and defense are going to hurt them immensely. The Stars could have closed out the Minnesota Wild on home ice, but the defense couldn’t contain the Wild, and a result, here we are in Minnesota for the sixth game of the series. The Wild took it by a score of 5-4 in overtime. The Stars have now allowed 5 goals in two of the last three games. Kari Lehtonen was responsible for the 5-3 loss, so Dallas went to Antti Niemi the following game. Better results there, in the 3-2 win for the Stars. However, Niemi took the loss in the last game, getting ripped for 4 goals in regulation.
The Stars have bounced between Lehtonent and Niemi all season long. There hasn’t been much confidence in either. Although, throughout the entire playoffs, the only really impressive goalie who has stolen some games is Michael Neuvirth of the Flyers. Unfortunately for the Flyers, he only got a chance to showcase his talents after they were down 3-0 in the series. Can Neuvirth pull off the improbable and win a couple more for the Flyers? That one should be over before the Stars and Wild drop the puck.
The Minnesota Wild would love to have a certain player on their blue line, who they gave up on a few years ago. Brent Burns is leading the San Jose Sharks, to what could be a very deep playoff push. Meanwhile the Wild are left wondering what could have been if they held on to Burns. They also parted with Marian Gaborik, a player who was key to the Kings’ success in previous playoffs. The Wild still have a good team, but somebody like Burns might have been a guy who would have put them over the top. In any case, let’s see if the Wild can come back to force a seventh game without Burns. Find my NHL pick for Sunday below.
Dallas Stars vs. Minnesota Wild NHL Playoffs Pick
The Stars’ offense finished 1st in the NHL in goals. Their offense has been a force for the last two seasons. Conversely, their defense started really strong, but feel back as the season progressed. The only thing that kept them out of the playoffs last season was their defense, and this season, the only thing keeping them from going on a deep playoff run is their defense. They could, but if they fail to do so, the defense is going to be the reason. Through the first five games of the series, the offense has been playing well, averaging 3.20 goals per game, which is tied for 2nd in the league. The Penguins continue to roll, as they have scored 4.20 goals per game in the playoffs. The Stars have allowed 2.60 goals per game against the Wild.
These playoffs have been pretty wild, and I’m not talking about the Minnesota Wild. Yesterday the Rangers won 6-3, as well as the Blackhawks. Typically the playoffs are so low scoring with a grind it out style of play. There have been a lot of high scoring games, which has made for an entertaining first round. I expect that to slow down as we get closer to the Stanley Cup Finals. The Wild know that the Stars can pile on the goals, but their defense leaves a lot to be desired. After 12 goals in the last three games, the Wild are confident they can put on another big offensive showing. The Stars are guessing in net at this point between Niemi and Lehtonen. I think we’ll see Niemi tonight, I doubt they go back to Lehtonen. Regardless, it doesn’t matter who is in net, because the Stars’ defense will leave the door open. I’m looking for goals in this matchup, with a play on the OVER 5.
PICK: OVER 5 GOALS (-115)