The Wild skate into Winnipeg fresh off a 3-0 blanking of the Ducks, while the Jets hope to shake off a two-game losing streak. Let's review the NHL odds & determine which side is the sharp side.
Minnesota Wild (5-2, +2.9 units)
The Minnesota Wild enjoyed some home cookin' after dropping two of three on the road. When the Wild got back to Minnesota they defeated the Blue Jackets 3-2 and then last night dispatched the Ducks 3-0 who could muster only 15 shots on Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk. Matt Dumba, Tomas Vanek and Ryan Carter all lit the lamp to send the Ducks on their way and Dubnyk secured his first shutout of the season.
As the Wild pack up and head to Winnipeg they own the 13th ranked offense in the league averaging 2.9 goals per game while their defense is even better holding the 11th spot and allowing just 2.4 goals per game. The offense has been boosted by a solid power play that has connected on 21.7 percent of the man-advantaged opportunities. Veteran Zach Parise leads the team in goals and points with six and eight respectively.
Winnipeg Jets (4-3, +1.3 units)
Those who backed the Jets in their NHL picks to start the season were rewarded with returns on their investment in four of five games but Winnipeg has dropped their last two contests both at home. Last Sunday the NHL odds makers made the Jets a -125 favorite over the visiting St. Louis Blues but Winnipeg wound up on the losing end of a 4-2 decision. In their last outing the Jets fell in overtime 4-3 to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Rugged right winger Blake Wheeler has had the hot hand for the Jets tying a franchise record by earning at least one point in every game this season. He made his mark again, albeit in a losing effort on Friday night, when he scored a short-handed goal in the third period against the Lightning knotting the game at three apiece until Tampa Bay secured the victory in overtime. Wheeler has four goals and five assists since the season began and will look to keep the good times rolling against the Wild tonight.
The NHL odds makers are shading this line in favor of the Jets for three primary reasons:
1) Home ice advantage.
2) Wild played last night and could be weary for tonight's road trip.
3) Wild are tapping backup goaltender Darcy Kuemper for his second start of the season.
While those may be good reasons to include the Jets in your NHL picks I have an issue with the NHL odds makers who, in my estimation, have made the Jets too big a favorite here creating plenty of betting value on the other side. Let's not forget the Minnesota Wild are an excellent club and their 5-1 record over the last six occasions when playing on zero days rest suggests they may not be affected at all by the back-to-back games.
Here are a few other stats to consider.
Winnipeg is 3-7 in their last 10 Sunday games and 0-4 in their last four games playing on one day's rest as they will be tonight.
Winnipeg is 35-55 over the past three years when playing a team with a winning record.
And if you believe Darcy Kuemper is a step down in class from starting Wild netminder Devan Dubnyk then I would suggest you take a long, hard look at the 6'5" 25-year-old because he is getting better every year and could very well start for many teams in the NHL right now. Kuemper was sharp in his only appearance this season when he stopped 35 of 37 shots in a 2-1 overtime loss to the Kings.
NHL Pick: Play the Wild +138 at BetOnline