The Wild will host the Penguins on Saturday at the Excel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minnesota with the opening faceoff slated for 8:05 PM ET. According to NHL betting odds the Penguins are a -115 money line road favorite and the posted total is 5.0. Pittsburgh has won the last 4 meetings between these teams. The road team has taken 6 of the last 8-games when these clubs square off. The Penguins have already clinched the Metropolitan Division, and are 2nd overall in the Eastern Conference. Minnesota is 4th in the Central Division, and 7th overall in the Western Conference.
Stuck in Neutral
until the Playoffs
The Penguins have not only clinched their division, but are assured of finishing no worse than 2nd overall in the Eastern Conference. They’re still mathematically alive for the top spot in the Eastern Conference but it would be highly improbable for that to occur. They trail the Boston Bruins by 8-points, and both teams have just 5-games left to play. The Penguins would basically need to earn 9 out of 10-points that are possible, and then hope that the Bruins lose their remaining 5-games. The latter of the two scenarios is highly unlikely.
Garnering Momentum Heading into the Postseason
The Penguins biggest challenges at this point is continuing to remain focused, staying mentally sharp, avoiding injuries, and gathering as much momentum as possible over their last 5 regular season games. Following tonight’s game they will play at Colorado tomorrow, and then conclude the regular season by playing their remaining 3-games at home. Pittsburgh is coming off a 4-2 road win at Winnipeg on Thursday, and that game went over the total of 5.5. That marked the first time in the last 7-games that the Penguins had gone over the total. The Penguins will be facing a Minnesota team this evening that’s allowed the opposition to convert on 20.8% of their power play opportunities this season. That’s good news for the Penguins who’ve gone an excellent 23-6 versus the money line, versus opponents that allow the opposition to convert on 19% or more of their power play chances. Pittsburgh is 2nd on the power play in the NHL connecting on 23.3% of their man advantage situations.
Controlling their own
The Minnesota Wild just has to take care of their own business during the last 2 weeks of the regular season, and they will assure themselves of a playoff berth. The Wild will be playing 4 of their remaining 5 at home where they’ve earned at least 1-point in 28 of 37-games this season. They currently hold a somewhat commanding 5-point lead over both Dallas and Phoenix who are vying for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Wild are returning home for the first time since a 4-game in 8-day road trip in which they went 2-2. Minnesota is 20-9 versus the money line in their last 29 home games following a road trip of 7 or more days. The last game of the road trip resulted in a 3-2 overtime shootout loss at Chicago. Minnesota has seen 7 of 8 home games go under the total this season following a road loss.
NHL Betting System
Any Road team with a total of 5.0 or less that’s playing in the 2nd half of the season, and has a 0.3 or better goal per game differential on the year, in addition to scoring 4 or more goals in their previous game, has seen 44 of those 67-games (65.7%) go under the total during the last 5 seasons.
Free Pick: Pittsburgh/Minnesota to go under the total of 5.0