The Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild are set for a home-and-home series that starts on Sunday. At one point in the season, both squads looked like they could give the Vancouver Canucks are run for their money in the Northwest Division, but now reality has set in. 

The Wild have been one of the worst teams in the NHL since the middle of December while the Avs are fighting for one of the final playoff spots in the West. 

Bettors and touts might not be sure what to do with this game as both teams are slumping heading into it, but the Wild’s goaltender situation should dictate the play in this game. 

Sunday, March 4th

NHL Odds: Avalanche -115 

The Colorado Avalanche can win because… 

The Wild are once again mired in a miserable losing streak. This time, the trend hit three games as the Wild put forth a discouraging effort in a 6-0 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Friday. While they had a brief surge last week with wins in three of four games, the reality is that those are their only three wins in their last 14 games.

On one hand, some people might say the Wild are in a downward trend but the reality is that this is who they are: a bad team. Their good start to the season was fraudulent and this is who they are. 

ClutterbuckMeanwhile, the Avs are coming off a pair of tough home losses to Pittsburgh and Columbus, but have still collected five wins in their last eight games. Oddly enough, they’ve been a better team on the road recently at home as they’ve picked up wins in three of their last four away games. 

Throw in the fact that starting goaltender Niklas Backstrom is out for Minnesota and the Avs should have a clear path to victory.

The Minnesota Wild can win because… 

The Avs are never a sure bet.

Sure, the signs might point to an Avs win but keep in mind that Colorado should have beat Columbus on Thursday and was silenced 2-0 at home by the worst team in the league. On Saturday, they were outclassed by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Now they have to play their third game in four nights while traveling to Minnesota on Sunday.

The Wild play well in this series as they’ve won 12 of the last 16 meetings overall. 

Overall, the team is pretty beat up but switching to youngster Matt Hackett in net might give the team a rallying point. Josh Harding has been brutal in the second half of the season and the Wild need some sort of motivation to show up and play, and Hackett could be exactly that.

Outlook & NHL betting prediction:

Keep an eye on the goaltending situations as the Wild have a decision to make on Sunday. Josh Harding has been awful since the All-Star break as he’s yet to win in five tries. He’s got a 4.37 GAA in that span and was pulled on Friday in favor of 21-year-old Matt Hackett after coughing up six goals. If Harding is in net, it’s going to be pretty tough to be the Wild. Keep in mind that they are already without captain Mikko Koivu and wingers Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Guillaume Latendresse.

If Hackett is in net, then have a look at the under. He’s 2-0 so far this season and has looked great. He has a 0.63 GAA in five appearances and a .980 save percentage. The Avs have scored just once in their last two games and a decent effort from Hackett should keep this game under the number.

NHL Picks: Under