The NHL is set up with another great night of action as we enter the second week of the season on Wednesday. Five games will be up on the board throughout January 20. One of these games will be between the Minnesota Wild and the Anaheim Ducks. These two teams will look for a big win as they enter Wednesday nights game. This one will drop the puck at around 9:30 PM Eastern time on NBCSN.
The Wild have earned a record of 2-1 to open up this season, which has them tied for second place in the West Division. Minnesota is coming off their first loss of the season though to the Ducks. The Wild will look to keep it going in this one though as they meet up in the second half of a back to back with Anaheim. I expect Minnesota to come out better in this one.
Anaheim has put up a record of 1-1-1 throughout the first week of the season, which has them tied for fourth place in the West Division. The Ducks are coming off their first win of the season and have earned a point in back to back games. Anaheim will look to keep it up as they meet up with Minnesota again in this one. I expect the Ducks to try and carry over momentum from their win on Monday night.
These two teams have had solid starts to the new season. The Wild have been able to win two games this season, while the Ducks are sitting comfortably with three points through three games. Anaheim was able to pull off the upset over Minnesota in the first meeting and will look to do so again in this one. I expect the Wild to come out better in this one though after being shutout on Monday.
The Wild and the Ducks met up three times throughout last season. The first meeting was on November 5 in Anaheim. Rickard Rakell and Jacob Larsson both scored for the Ducks to give Anaheim a 2-0 lead. Mats Zuccarello had a goal and an assist though as Minnesota scored four straight goals. Alex Stalock stopped 29 of 31 shots to lead the Wild to a 4-2 win.
The second game of the season series shifted to Minnesota on December 10. Ryan Donato and Ryan Hartman scored for the Wild to help force overtime. Cam Fowler and Rickard Rakell both had goals as well in this one. Rickard Rakell and Max Comtois both scored in the shootout to help lift the Ducks to the win. John Gibson had 22 saves on 24 shots as Anaheim won 3-2.
The final game of the season series was on March 8 in Anaheim. Jakob Silverberg had two goals and an assist, while Rickard Rakell had three assists. It was not enough for the Ducks in this one though. Alex Galchenyuk had a goal and an assist for Minnesota. Kevin Fiala scored twice, including the game winner in overtime. The Wild were able to finish with a 5-4 win in overtime.
The first meeting of this season’s series was on January 18. Nicol as Deslauriers finally scored the first goal in the third period with assists from Kevin Shattenkirk and Carter Rowney. Cam Talbot had 26 saves on 27 shots, which was not enough for the Wild. John Gibson turned away all 34 shots he faced as the Ducks held on for a 1-0 win.
Minnesota’s power play was solid throughout last season, but their penalty kill was not as great. The Wild were able to score on 21.3 percent of their power play opportunities, while they killed off 77.2 percent of penalties against them. To open up this season, Minnesota has scored on 0 of their 16 power play chances. The Wild have given up 1 goal on 11 power plays against.
The Ducks power play and penalty kill were weak throughout last season. Anaheim capitalized on 14.7 percent of their power play attempts. The Ducks also killed off 77 percent of opposing teams power plays. Anaheim has opened up this season with 0 power play goals on 5 chances, while killing off all 7 penalties against them.
These two teams have not been great on special teams to open up this season. Neither team has scored on the power play yet this season, while the Wild have given up one goal on the penalty kill. If either team can get going on the power play, it will help them earn a win in this one. Minnesota had the better power play going this season and will try to find that rhythm in this one.
Cam Talbot will likely get the start in the crease for the Wild in this one. Talbot had a strong campaign with the Flames last season. He finished with a record of 12-10-1. In those games, Talbot had a save percentage of .919 and a 2.63 GAA. Talbot has opened up this season with a .926 save percentage and a GAA of 2.27 through three games.
I expect John Gibson will get the nod in the net for Anaheim on Wednesday night. Gibson had a strong season last season as well. He had a record of 20-26-5, which was not great. Gibson was able to post a .904 save percentage and a 3.00 GAA though. In three games this season, Gibson has a save percentage of .937 and a GAA of 2.03.
These two goalies have had strong starts to the new season. Gibson is coming off a really strong shutout over the Wild in their last meeting, but I expect Minnesota’s offense try and come out better in this one. The Ducks do not have a great overall roster and if they allow the Wild to continue to shoot a lot in this one, Minnesota will eventually break through. Anaheim will need to come out strong on offense if they want to match that intensity.
The Ducks were able to pull off a nice low scoring upset against Minnesota on Monday night. I think that the Wild will come out much better in this one as they look to get back in the win column. Minnesota has been in tight games this season, winning two games in overtime and losing by one in regulation. I think the Wild will have a chance to take over in this one though.
BetOnline has Minnesota listed as a -130 against the money line in this one. This implies that the Wild will win this game around 56.5 percent of the time. I think that this line is right, but there is not a lot of value in it. Minnesota is also listed as a -1 ½ at +180. I think that the Wild will take over early after being shutout, which should be enough to cover that spread.