Out of all the season predictions, did anyone have the Anaheim Ducks as a .500 team as we approach the All-Star break? The Duck are indeed coming into tonight with a record of 19-18-5. For a team that has played so well during the regular season, I think the expectation was that they would blow the doors off the regular season and fall in the playoff again. It has been a familiar pattern for the Ducks, but this season hasn’t followed the same old usual path for them. They aren’t accustomed to having such poor regular seasons, but they are accustomed to not getting very far. At least in the last ten years ago or so. Maybe this will result in them having a good time in the playoffs this season? Well, they have to worry about playoffs first, so lets not go that far. At the moment they are on the outside looking in. The lack of offense has been a bit of a head scratcher for the Ducks. Perhaps they find their stride in the second half following the break, but I will say that a lot of people have been waiting for them to breakout but haven’t been able to yet.
They come into tonight going 6-3 in their last ten games. The Ducks will need to string some more of those together. A recent win over the Dallas Stars had to have them feeling good, but games like that are going to need to continue. The Ducks have been on a long home stand which began against the Winnipeg Jets, a 4-1 win. This will be their eighth game in a row playing at home. They welcome the Minnesota Wild, who were on fire to open the season for several months, but are trying to regain some traction in Anaheim. All of the good teams go through rough patches, the best know how to get out of it and recover in a big way. The Wild have lost four in a row and are 3-7 in their last ten games. They have failed to score a goal in each of their last two games. The Wild face a strong defensive unit tonight, we’ll see how it goes. A big game for both teams.
Minnesota Wild vs. Anaheim Ducks NHL Pick
The Wild offense has been anemic lately. This is the same kind of stuff that has gotten them into trouble in the playoffs every year. Play like this and the Blackhawks will make quick work of the Wild yet again. Considering the way the Blackhawks have been playing, it would make for a sweep. I have confidence that the Hawks will be in top form come playoffs. They have that unique ability to turn it up when it matters, just like the way they are playing right now. The Wild have scored 1.80 goals in their last ten games.
The Wild will have one of the better defenses in the league on their hands tonight. The Ducks have allowed only 1.70 goals in their last ten games. But the offense is still kind of stuck. They scored 4 goals against the Stars in the 1st period, but that was the rare exception. Scoring 4 goals in total has been a struggle, as they have averaged only 1.95 goals per game this season, good for last in the NHL. The Wild defense has been good during the last ten games though, allowing 2.10 goals a game. It’s just the offense has been missing. I took the UNDER in the Stars/Ducks game a few nights ago and the fluke 1st period, resulting in 4 goals in the Ducks favor doomed that bet. We nearly got out of it, as it ended up a 4-2 final score. I’m going to try and hit this bet again. With only three games on the NHL card tonight, I think this has to be the best option I see.
PICK: UNDER 5 GOALS (-115)