Wild vs. Penguins NHL Pick – December 20th

The Pittsburgh Penguins return home after picking up their biggest win of the year in Washington. They trounced the red-hot Capitals by a score of 2-1 at Capital One Arena. The Capitals were showing no signs of letting up until last night. Credit the Penguins for bringing their ‘A’ game to neutralize Ovechkin and the Caps. And with that, Ovechkin’s point and goal streak was halted.

Nonetheless, it was an impressive run that was eventually going to come to an end. The Caps are still in a better position overall than the Pens are at the moment. We’ll see if Pittsburgh can build off the win or if it provides some false hope. The best sign of the night was the play off Matt Murray in net.

Murray was tasked with slowing down the hottest team in the NHL and he did a marvelous job of coming up big. He’s had his struggles this season, but he looked like a starting goaltender last season. That hasn’t happened as often as the Penguins would want. When they made Fleury available in the expansion draft, there were big expectations placed on Murray. It was only one night, but he made several Pittsburgh fans breath a sigh of relief with his performance.

Casey DeSmith will be back between the pipes for the Penguins against the Wild tonight. If both could get something going, they’d suddenly have a good situation on their hands. It would go from horrible to great if it does happen. The Penguins are going to at least need one of them to get locked in, though. They are going nowhere fast without a capable goalie. We’ll see what DeSmith does to follow up the performance from Murray last night against the Capitals. Get our free Wild vs. Penguins pick and the rest of our writeup below.

Minnesota Wild vs. Pittsburgh Penguins Pick

The Wild hit the road after dropping their last two games in Minnesota. It wasn’t an uplifting performance in either game, with the Wild falling by scores of 2-1 to the Flames and 4-0 against the Sharks. It hasn’t been the most pleasant stretch for the Wild, as they’ve gone 3-7 in their last ten games to drop to 17-14-1.

Nothing bad about that record, but they did giveaway a pretty solid standing in the Western Conference. They went from being a playoff team to 3 points behind the final wildcard. It’s meaningless at the moment, though the wins and losses now will be felt later in the season. Minnesota are one of those fringe teams who will likely barely be in or out.

They haven’t looked like a bad team up until the last couple of weeks. The Wild are still averaging 3.06 goals per game while allowing 2.85 goals, so they are ahead of the curve in that sense. They’ve also played the Penguins pretty hard in their most recent meetings.

Note that the Wild have won three of the last four meetings against the Pens. I think they can catch the Penguins off-guard in this game. Pittsburgh are coming off their biggest win of the year last night, while shutting the door on the hottest team in the NHL on the road.

Now they come home to play a Wild team that have looked lethargic. This should present an opportunity for the Wild to play hard against an opponent who probably aren’t going to be all too focused. I don’t see them being too interested in playing the Wild this evening. The Penguins look like a different team tonight, as the Wild spoil the after party in Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

The Bet
WILD
Kyle E / Author

Kyle is a veteran of The Sports Geek and has spent nearly a decade providing accurate sports picks and writeups here. He has been a sports handicapper for 10+ years and started sharing his picks and thoughts in 2011 at The Sports Geek. His expertise spans across multiple sports, including the NFL, NCAAF, MLB, and the NHL. Prior to writing for The Sports Geek, Kyle was a fantasy football expert, who ultimately parlayed it into a successful sports betting career. You can find his picks daily at The Sports Geek.