The Minnesota Wild stunned the Vancouver Canucks with a 4-3 win in a shootout to steal the bonus point. The Canucks might need that extra point later in the season when points are added up at the end of the regular season. Conversely, it might be a big point for the Wild, who are still clinging to hopes that they’ll go to the playoffs.
It’s not totally outlandish or unrealistic. The Wild might be next to last in the Central Division with a record of 28-24-7 and 63 points, but they’re only 5 points behind the Flames for the final wildcard in the Western Conference. Not bad for a team that just fired their head coach and played mediocre hockey for the majority of 2019-20.
Minnesota will have to jump over the Predators, Coyotes, and Flames to get into the playoffs. It’s unlikely that the Wild can get into the playoffs, but perhaps pulling the cord on Bruce Boudreau sets this team along a hot path. The Wild have widely unperformed this season and maybe that’s a result of Boudreau’s system not working. Mats Zuccarello has not reached his full potential in Minnesota, which could be a result of his game not working with Boudreau’s philosophy.
If Dean Evason gets this team playing like a contender down the stretch and they do get into the playoffs, the front office may not have to do a head coaching job. Having said that, getting into the playoffs likely won’t be enough considering all the head coaches available on the market. If Evason gets the Wild into the playoffs, and they go on a run that might be what it takes. An upset in the first round would turn some heads. That’d likely have to come against the Blues or Stars, which wouldn’t be an impossible task.
A win against the Oilers in Edmonton tonight would help them get to that point. The Oilers are gunning for the playoffs as well, with the crowded Pacific Division continuing the tight race on Friday. With the Golden Knights getting 2 points last night against the Lightning on Thursday night, they moved past the Oilers for 1st in the Pacific. The Golden Knights have 72 points, while the Oilers go into Friday night trailing by a point at 71. Head below for our free Wild vs. Oilers pick.
Minnesota Wild vs. Edmonton Oilers Betting Odds:
Wild vs. Oilers Prediction:
Despite getting pushed out of 1st in the Pacific by the Golden Knights last night, the Oilers would still be going to the playoffs as a top-3 team in the division. The Golden Knights, Oilers, and Canucks would be in. There isn’t any room for error, though. A bad couple of weeks could sink a team. The Oilers are coming off a 2-1 loss against the Bruins in overtime on Wednesday night. That’s not a bad loss to take by any means.
Edmonton will gladly take the point, which makes for at least a point in five of their previous six games. They are winners in four of their previous six outings. Considering that the Oilers have had to deal with the loss of Connor McDavid, they’ve been playing competitive hockey. McDavid is expected to travel the team on an upcoming road trip, so expect him back shortly. However, McDavid will not be active against the Wild on Friday.
Despite the win for the Wild in Vancouver, they haven’t been much of a road team in 2019-20. And even with the win, that was a game they could have easily lost. I thought the Canucks were the better team. In combat sports don’t allow decisions to come down to judges, and in hockey, try and avoid coin flips in shootouts. The Canucks fell victim to the shootout against the Wild. Minnesota hasn’t been on the fortunate side too many times on the road, though. They have recorded just 2.89 goals per game and allowed 3.64 goals a game as visitors in 2019-20. Dubnyk has struggled mightily, as he’s posted a 3.57 GAA and 0.893 save percentage in opposing arenas.
The win in Vancouver was only the 11th win for the Wild on the road this season. They’re 11-15-2 in that capacity, while a record of 17-9-5 indicates some decent home ice advantage at the Xcel Energy Center. In the absence of McDavid, the Oilers have upped the defensive pressure and have done it effectively. Edmonton has allowed 1 goal in two of their past three outings, and no more than 3 goals since a 6-3 loss against the Sharks on February 6. In their previous ten outings, the Oilers have scored 3.3 goals per game while surrendered 2.8 a game in the defensive zone. Look for the Wild to regress after stealing a win against the Canucks.