The Minnesota Wild find themselves in an 0-2 hole as they head back home for Game 3. Can they find a way to beat the Chicago Blackhawks and cash on the NHL betting lines?
The Chicago Blackhawks Can Win Because…
The Wild’s magic power is gone. What fueled their success in the second half of the regular season and the playoffs was the fact that Devan Dubnyk had carried them. He was playing lights-out hockey, stymieing opponents and giving the Wild a chance to win each and every night. With Minnesota, he went 27-9-2, posted a 1.78 GAA and a .936 save percentage. That’s what made him a Vezina Trophy finalist. However, in this series, the Blackhawks have had no problems getting through him as they’ve scored at least three goals in each game and Dubnyk has a .892 save percentage. What’s interesting is that Dubnyk rarely lost consecutive starts with Minnesota but the Blackhawks have now beat him twice. The Wild figured that would be their big edge in this series as the Blackhawks had some issues in net. As it turns out, the opposite has been true.
It seems as though the Blackhawks have finally woken up. We’ve been waiting to see them be a dominant, Stanley Cup contender and play with consistency, and these first two playoff games is as good as they’ve looked. It’s hard to bet against them in this spot – especially since now you get a discount on the NHL odds since they’re on the road.
The Minnesota Wild Can Win Because…
They’ll play better. The Wild have yet to play their best game and that’ll happen in Game 3 – it simply has to. Minnesota played better in Game 2 as they weren’t blown off the map to begin with, but they still found the same result. They didn’t get off to a great start as they only had six shots in the first period. Even in the second, they only had 10. At no point in the series have the Wild looked like they’ve been in control and that should change.
The Wild just continue to make some uncharacteristic plays, like giving up the shorthanded goal to start the contest. They’re normally a sound defensive team but were very sloppy in that case. Coming back home should help them out a lot. They didn’t have any answers in Chicago but they should get their confidence back with the home crowd giving them a charge in Minnesota.
The truth is that the Blackhawks are a great home team in the playoffs and have way more experience than Minnesota. They have won 23 of their last 27 games at the United Center. The fact that the Wild are down 0-2 after the first two games in Chicago shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. Look for the Wild to get on the board here.
This is a tough game to pick as I thought the Wild would have played better by now. They haven’t. That means I’ll avoid the side and add to my NHL picks the total as Game 3 could really go either way on the side. For the total, I expect an under as the Wild should play their best defensive game of the series. They simply can’t keep allowing the Blackhawks to get to three or four goals.
NHL Pick: Under at WagerWeb