The Minnesota Wild ( 23-22-10 56 pts) travel to Vancouver to take on the Canucks (22-21-12 56 pts). The Wild have now lost eight in a row. Who will be our NHL pick tonight?
NHL Pick: Wild -115
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes
Wild vs. Canucks
Mike Yeo is relieved of his duties and I guess that warrants the Wild being a road favorite. Odd to me, at first, but I don't second guess the NHL odds makers much and when I looked into it further, the right team was favored.
The Wild will be playing the second game of a back to back, after being thoroughly beaten by Boston, 4-2, Sunday which prompted the coaching change. John Torchetti will be the interim Head Coach. Torchetti has 39 games of coaching experience with an overall record of 15-19-5. John will not be the permanent coach but he should bring some stability while gaining valuable experience. The first game after the shakeup is usually the best.
Just when the Wild need a lift in steps the Canucks, perfect team to play after a coaching change.
Wild Goaltender, Devan Dubnyk, who started an amazing win streak this time last season, should get some relief against Vancouver who is 28th in the league in scoring while scoring only ten goals in their last six games. Their ineptness has carried over to their power play going only 1 for their last 20 attempts over 11 games.
Vancouver has played unispired hockey all season long and one would have to wonder if Head Coach, Willie Desjardins, job could be in jeopardy especially if the Wild can show that a change could be a positive. The Canucks are a horrific 9-11-5, the leagues second worse mark, at home this season which is why the line has the Wild as a road favorite. They were outshot by the lowly Toronto Maple Leafs 38-19, in a 5-2 loss at Rogers Arena, Saturday.
Vancouver takes way too many penalties. They are currently 10th in the league in penalty's per game (10.33) including 6 miscounducts, 4th in the league. They don't take care of the puck very well when they have it down low. The Canucks are the worst faceoff team in the league winning just 45.4%, last in the league. Toughness in the corner and winning those battles with your nose over the puck are all areas that Vancouver has to improve on. I can doubt a teams ability but when I question their mental and physical toughness then they will never get my money.
To make matters worse, injuries are starting to pile up. Defensemen, Alexander Edler, is out with a broken jaw. Edler leads the team in time on ice so his fractured fibula is a huge blow defensively and Brandon Sutter's (Fractured Jaw) absense will make the power play even weaker. Bo Horvat, will miss today's game with a foot injury. Horvat had 16 points in his last 16 games and he was decent in the faceoff circle.
Canucks goaltender, Ryan Miller, looks as if he will have to win this on his own, like most nights. Miller, who has lost four of his last five starts, can't be happy in Vancouver.
I have never thought that Vancouver was the best conditioned team which is evident by their latest 8-18 run while playing on one days rest. The Wild have beaten Vancouver 7 of the last 10 meetings. Take Minnesota as the sharp NHL pick tonight.