Free NHL Picks: Wild Struggling Streak Will Continue Against Bruins

Mark Lathrop

Saturday, February 13, 2016 2:23 PM GMT

Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016 2:23 PM GMT

The Wild have been in an awful stretch to start 2016. Can we trust them to break that streak and be worth our wager and NHL Pick? Let's look for the best approach against the NHL odds.

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NHL Pick: Bruins -103
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

 

Bruins vs. Wild
The Minnesota Wild (23-1-10, 56 Pts.) attempt to get on the right track as they travel to the Boston Bruins (29-19-6, 64 Pts.) in a Saturday night inter-conference matchup. Boston is currently in the driver’s seat of a playoff spot, having the 6th seed and just behind the New York Islanders. After a hot start to their season this year, the calendar of 2016 hasn’t been kind to the Wild, and now they are on the outside facing in when looking at playoff contention. Boston is favored in this game on their home ice just slightly at -115 on the money line at BookMaker. The O/U total suggests a slight lean to the over, coming in at 5 with -135 juice, also at BookMaker.

Minnesota has lost seven straight matchups coming into this game, not having won since a surprising 3-0 win at Los Angeles on January 21st. That lone win was the only one they have had in 2016 thus far, as the Wild are a putrid 1-17 since January 1st. It’s the worst slide in team history and another loss tonight would tie the team record for losses in a row. It appears there is plenty of blame to go around for Minnesota during this streak of poor play. The Wild are coming off of a loss at the hands of the Capitals, with Alex Ovechkin scoring a hat trick in the 2nd period alone.

Minnesota’s top goaltender, Devan Dubnyk, has been in an awful stretch since the All-Star Game. Maybe giving up 5 goals in ten minutes of playing time in the All-Star Game left a bad taste in his mouth for his chosen profession as a person who stops goals in hockey. Dubnyk has allowed slightly more than 4 goals average per game in the four February games since then, all losses for the Wild. His last winning effort was last year as backup goalkeeper, Darcy Kuemper, was between the pipes for the Wild’s shutout win at the Kings in January.

And if you can’t goaltend, Minnesota, you better be able to shoot the lights out. Unfortunately for them they have a league worst shooting percentage of 4.9% since the calendar turned to 2016.

Boston bounced back in their last game, winning 6-2 at Winnipeg on Thursday, after getting lit up for 9 goals at home by the Los Angeles Kings. The Bruins were paced by veteran Patrice Bergeron, who scored 2 goals in the game and also got in a rare bout of fisticuffs with Blake Wheeler of Winnipeg. It was only Bergeron’s second fight in the regular season of his career. Bergeron could have hurt himself during it though, as he has been ruled as questionable for the game against the Wild.

The Bruin’s goaltender, Tuuka Rask, should be starting and rested after only playing for half of the game against the Kings earlier in the week. He was pulled after allowing 5 goals in 32 shots after 32 minutes. He previously had allowed only four goals once in the last ten games, with the other efforts giving up 3 goals or less. Either way, Rask is having a measure of success much greater than any Minnesota goalkeeper at this time.

With the Minnesota losing streak and poor goaltending in hand, it is hard to catch the falling knife here and say this is the game they will break the streak. Especially so given that Boston is a quality team. For this reason I see some value in taking Boston -115 in this game against the NHL odds, and will do so as one of my NHL picks.

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