NHL Picks: Back Minnesota As Dallas Will Get Lost In The Wild

Bruce Webster

Monday, December 21, 2015 1:29 PM GMT

The Dallas Stars face the Minnesota Wild on Monday night at the Xcel Energy Center in Minneapolis. We break down the NHL odds for this matchup and discover the best picks for the night.

Dallas Stars (24-7-1-1 SU, 18-15 PL, 17-16-0 OU) vs Minnesota Wild (18-8-6 SU, 15-16 PL, 11-14-6 OU)
Lines: Minnesota -114/ Dallas +103
Total: 5.5
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Free NHL Pick: Minnesota
Best Line Offered: at Bovada

 

The Dallas Stars enter this game off a pasting of the Montreal Canadiens, in which they won 6-2. The Stars have the best record in the NHL, but they have gone just 5-4 in their last nine games. The Minnesota Wild enter off a 3-2 loss in Nashville on Saturday night which broke their three game win streak. Minnesota has taken five of the last six in the series. Let's review what the NHL odds are offering:

 

Stars Rout Habs Behind Two Goals from Jamie Benn
The Stars have been rather inconsistent of late as they have gone just 5-4 in their last nine, but they still have the best record in the NHL and were the first team to reach 50 points for the year following their 6-2 pasting of Montreal on Saturday night. Leading the charge in the game was Jamie Benn, who scored twice to notch his 21st and 22nd goals of the year, which leads the league. He also had an assist in the game and now has 44 points on the year, which ties him for 2nd in the league with teammate Tyler Seguin, who also scored a goal in the game. Seguin and Benn form the best duos in the league and are a big reason why the Stars lead the NHL in points.

Antti Niemi was the recipient of all those goals and is now 13-7 on the year with a 2.57 GAA. Kari Lehtonen is slated to get the start in this one and is a strong 11-2 on the year with a 2.54 GAA, while on the road he has gone a perfect 7-0 with a 2.00 GAA. Lehtonen has had so-so success vs. the Wild, going 9-9 with a 2.75 GAA in his career vs. them. The Stars check in at 1st in the league in scoring, putting up 3.4 gpg and 3rd in power play conversions (22.7%), while on defense they are 16th in goals allowed, giving up 2.5 gpg and 20th in penalty kill (79.8%). 

 

Wild Have Win Streak Snapped in Loss to the Preds
The Minnesota Wild had their three game win streak snapped in their 3-2 road loss to Nashville on Saturday night. Still the Wild are playing good hockey as they have won six of their last nine games and would be in the playoffs if they started today. The offense was the bigger problem in the loss to the Preds as they had scored just two goals, after putting up 11 in their previous two games combined. Minnesota only got off 22 shots in the game and the goals were scored by Zach Parise, who notched his 11th of the year and Jason Zucker, which was his 8th of the season. 

Taking the loss in the game was Devan Dubnyk, who is now 14-10 with a 2.32 GAA on the year. Darcy Kuemper is slated to get the start here and he is 3-4 on the year with a 2.28 GAA, while vs. Dallas in his career, he has gone 4-4 with a 3.16 GAA vs. them. The Wld check in at 9th in the league in scoring, putting up a solid 2.8 gpg, while also ranking 8th in power play conversions, converting on 20.6% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they are a solid 8th in goals allowed, giving up just 2.4 gpg, but have allowed teams to convert on 22.1% of their power play chances, which is 24th in the league.

 

Trends for Dallas:
1-4 in their last five vs. the Western Conference
1-4 in their last five games following a win

 

Trends for Minnesota:
11-3 in their last 14 home games vs. a team with a road winning percentage of greater than .600
22-9 in their last 31 when their opponent allows two goals or less in their previous game

 

Betting Analysis
The Wild come in off a rough loss in Nashville, while Dallas is off a home blowout win over Montreal, and I feel that the Wild will be able to catch Dallas here. The Stars have the best record in the NHL right now and that also means there is a target on their backs, especially vs. the good teams in the league. The Wild really play well at home, where they are 12-4 on the year, and I feel that we should consider them for our  NHL picks as they will have just too much for Dallas in this one.

Looking for More NHL Picks for Tonight? Don't Miss:
Montreal Canadiens vs. Nashville Predators