NHL Picks: Back Wild To Pick Up A Solid Home Win Over Devils

Bruce Webster

Sunday, January 10, 2016 3:24 PM GMT

Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016 3:24 PM GMT

The Devils visit the Wild on Sunday night at the Xcel Energy Center in Minneapolis. The home team has won the last five in the series. Will they make it to six in our NHL picks?

New Jersey Devils vs. Minnesota Wild
Lines: Minnesota -150/ New Jersey +136
Total: 5
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Free NHL Pick: Minnesota -150
Best Line Offered: at The Greek

 

The NHL odds are out at the New Jersey Devils (20-17-1-4 SU, 26-16 PL, 11-18-3 OU) enter the game off a 4-1 loss to the Boston Bruins, which was their 3rd loss in a row, while the Minnesota Wild (21-11-7-1SU, 20-20 PL, 14-19-7 OU) come in off a game with Dallas on Saturday and they will be looking to bounce back from a tough 4-3 home loss to the Flyers in that game. The home team has won the last five in the series.

 

Devils Get Stymied by Jonas Gustavsson
The New Jersey Devils have been stymied a lot this year and Jonas Gustavsson of Boston is the latest to do so in Boston’s 4-1 win. The Devils have now scored just two total goals in their last three games. Scoring the lone goal vs Boston was Bobby Farnham, which was his 6th of the year. The offense has been a major issue for this team all year so far as they come in ranked 28th in scoring, putting up 2.2 gpg and 30th in shots taken (24.7 spg). They need more shots as logic dictates that if you don’t shoot it makes it harder to score. The Devils are solid on the power play, where they rank 13th in the league (19%).

Cory Schneider has been very solid for the Devils this year, but on this night he struggled vs the Boston attack as he allowed four goals on 31 shots by the Bruins. Schneider is now 17-18 on the year, but still with a solid 2.12 GAA. He should get the start here as well and is also 10-7 with a 2.04 GAA on the road, while vs the Wild he is 8-6 with a 2.42 GAA in his career. The Devils have been a solid defensive squad this year as they come in at 4th in the league in goals allowed, giving up just 2.3 gpg, while ranking 7th in penalty kill at 82.6%.

 

Defense is Good, but the Offense is Slumping
This Minnesota Wild team has won just four of their last 10 games and it all starts with an offense that is slumping. The Wild come in having scored more than three goals just once in their last 10 games, averaging just 2.4 gpg over that stretch, which is down from their 2.7 gpg that they have averaged for the year. That puts them at 11th in the league in scoring, while on the power play they have converted on just 18.2% of their power play chances, with is 21st in the league. This is a team that is searching for some answers at the offensive end of the ice.

The defensive end of the ice has been solid all year as they have allowed just 2.38 gpg on the year, which ranks 8th in the league. In their last eight games they have allowed just 1.8 gpg in regulation, but they are just 4-4 in those games, thanks to the ineptness of their offense. Devan Dubnyk has been strong for the Wild this year with a 2.33 GAA, while Darcy Kuemper has a 2.12 GAA. Kuemper will get the start in this one and is 0-1 with a 2.00 GAA vs the devils in his career. The Wild have struggled on the penalty kill where they are 20th (79.4%). 

 

Trends for New Jersey:
23-48 in their last 71 vs. the Western Conference
10-26 in their last 36 road games vs. a team with a home winning percentage of greater than .600

 

Trends for Minnesota:
8-2 in their last 10 in the fourth game of a 4-in-6 situation
35-17 in their last 52 vs. a team with a losing record

 

Betting Analysis
The Wild will be playing with no rest in this game, but still they are the NHL pick here. New Jersey doesn’t have a lot of offense and even less on the road. Minnesota has been a strong home team this year and the Devils have struggled on the road. Even playing tired, this Minnesota team is better than the Devils and they will show it with a solid win in this one on Sunday night..

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