Well we got back on track in a big way last night with a routine Canucks victory. Our record entering the new week sits at a stellar 29-15, and we’ll look for more success down the stretch. Tonight’s featured selection focuses on the old Northstars battling the current Dallas Stars. Yes, the red-hot Minnesota Wild travel to Dallas in a key Monday evening showdown.
Minnesota Wild (+100) @ Dallas Stars (-120)
Entering this contest, it really does seem like both squads are simply heading in different directions. The Wild are gearing up for a post-season push, and have a great shot at dethroning the Vancouver Canucks for the Northwest Division crown. Meanwhile, the Stars have been struggling of late, and if their recent moves are any indication, they seem like a squad ready to sell some of their key assets prior to the April 3rd trade deadline.
Though Dallas has in fact won two straight contests, prior to that they were losers of 5 of their last 6 games, and dishing off their captain for futures doesn’t seem to boost their chances in 2013. Brenden Morrow was an integral part of the Dallas community and Stars organization, and losing a heart-and-soul player like Morrow will take time to recover from. As a result, Dallas will debut new line combinations and it remains to be seen if the team’s offense will suffer. Minnesota plays stifling defense, and it doesn’t allow many chances for the opposition. For a Stars squad that has trouble generating serious attacks, this could prove problematic.
Conversely, after a so-so beginning to 2013, the Minnesota Wild are simply rolling and seem poised for a return to the post-season. Their huge off-season acquisitions of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter have paid off thus far, and they’ve been showing signs recently that their group can cause damage in a 7-game series. One intriguing factor heading into this match-up is the fact that Minnesota has not won in Dallas since 2003! They’re 0-11-5 on the road vs. the Stars in their last 16 and you can bet the Wild players are aware of this. They’re sick of the talk surrounding the streak, and finally, they have the talent and personnel to defeat it. Minnesota enters this contest on a five-game winning streak, and they’re now winners of 12 of their last 16 games. They’re a healthy group and their offensive talent, and stifling defensive play, will cause fits for a Stars team that seems content on calling it a season an entire month early.
Minnesota possesses great balance in their lines, and ultimately expect their depth to wear down a Dallas group that lacks that quality. The Wild have only allowed 1.87 goals against per game in their last eight contests. Dallas won’t score, and when they do get chances, the red-hot Niklas Backstrom will certainly shut the door. The wrong team is favoured in this one, and as a result, play the Wild as road underdogs. The curse ends tonight for Minnesota, in Dallas.
PICK = Wild (+100)
It’s a busy Monday evening in the National Hockey League, and below is another consideration for your daily wagers. The bonus picks enter the evening 27-25 thus far in 2013.
Bonus Pick #1: Ottawa (-135) Though it seems to defy all logic, the Ottawa Senators cannot stop winning. This depleted group has only lost 3 times in regulation in their past 17 games, and seem like they’ll once again find a way into the play-offs. Their team defense is superb, and their knack of hanging around in contests usually results in a win for them. Tonight, they’ll take on a Devils squad without Ilya Kovalchuk. The Russian star forward is hugely important to New Jersey, often playing upwards of 25-minutes a night. Look for New Jersey to struggle in his absence, and expect the pesky Sens to keep on reeling off victories.