NHL Pick: Home Fav Stars Ready To Seize On Wilds' Questionable Play

Doug Upstone

Friday, April 22, 2016 11:35 AM GMT

Friday, Apr. 22, 2016 11:35 AM GMT

It is amazing Minnesota lost Game 4 of the Stanley Cup playoffs. For those who hate statistics and just want the final NHL betting score, this is where you might want to cover your eyes.

The Wild had more shots on goal (30-22), more hits (27-19) and won the faceoff battle decidedly (43-27). Minnesota also had fewer penalties minutes (6 vs.10), committed only one giveaway and held 8-3 edge in takeaways.

What they did not win the special teams. Minnesota was 0-3 on the power play and Dallas cashed on both power play chances and they scored on a great pass and breakout just 14 seconds after the killing penalty for the go-ahead goal which they would not relinquish.

The last three contests have been far more competitive than anyone had a right to think, yet here is Dallas at the doorstep of taming the Wild and moving on to next round.

The NHL odds at GT Bets are the same as Game 2 when Dallas was a -210 moneyline favorite. Is Minnesota possibly a live underdog or do the Stars shoot to the conference semi-finals?

 

Minnesota Has to Make Dallas Pay for Casualness
If this 1 vs. 8 was determined by how hard the teams have played, Minnesota would have taken in it four. Despite being outmanned due in part by injury and the overall offensive talent Dallas has, the Wild have played Stars on even terms the past three contests. If you look at total goals in the last trio of contests, both teams have eight a piece. If you break it down to period scoring, the Stars hold a less than commanding 3-2-4 edge.

Fact of the matter is Minnesota knew the only way to have a chance to defeat Dallas was to outwork them. To that point, this has been accomplished and until the last contest, they have held up in special teams play.

The one facet the Wild has not been able to overcome, except in Game 2, is the simple act of - making plays. While hard to do, sometimes it is what you need from a player or two and if Minnesota wants to return to St. Paul for a Game 6, this is what will have to happen.

 

Dallas Winning In Spite of Lackluster Performance
The Stars have played this series like 14-year old playing his little brother in basketball. The elder brother has more skill and size, but instead of showing the younger fella who's the boss, he's toying with him and been tested far more than he should be.

After blowing 2-0 lead in first tilt in Minnesota, the thought process was Dallas would have the fire to take control in the first period on Wednesday. Instead, they looked like it was a skate-around and trailed 2-1 halfway through the conflict. When the rink side reporter asked coach Lindy Ruff what his team need to tie the game, he said, "The effort level has to be raised."

Not every favorite plays their best hockey in the first round and no coach would really want them to, but playing with heart and passion are hockey staples and while Dallas is likely to win this series, do they just push the 'start' button in the next round? Let's watch for how badly the Stars want this.

 

What to Expect and Winner
Minnesota has an excellent chance to make this a highly competitive battle for at least two periods if not longer if Dallas continues to go through the motions. Look for Antti Niemi to be between the pipes for the Stars again, having an 11-4-2 record with a 1.94 goals-against average against Minnesota in his career.

For value bettors, this a pass game, with the money line high, the puck line uncertain with how Dallas might play and the total not a cinch either way. No matter what, the Stars have won 12 of 15 and not lost at American Airlines Arena since March 15th, while Minnesota despite the effort is 1-8 in last nine tries. Lay the wood, collect the cash for NHL picks. Be sure to visit our other NHL games at SBR to see what's of value on Friday's short slate. 

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Free NHL Pick: Dallas -196
Best Line Offered: at Heritage 

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