NHL Picks: Wild vs. Avalanche Game 2

Ross Benjamin

Friday, April 18, 2014 2:39 PM UTC

Friday, Apr. 18, 2014 2:39 PM UTC

Minnesota is set to take on Colorado Saturday night in Game 2 of their playoff series at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Find out what our NHL picks guru has to say about this encounter, and who his NHL free pick is on.

Series Shaping up to be a Good One
The Avalanche will host the Wild on Saturday at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado with the opening face-off slated for 9:35 PM ET. This will be Game 2 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals best-of-7 series in which Colorado holds a 1-0 lead. According to my projected NHL betting odds Colorado will be a -140 money line home favorite and the posted total will be 5.0. Te game will be televised nationally in the United States on the NBC Sports Network.


A Heartbreaking Series Opening Loss for the Wild
The Minnesota Wild definitely let an excellent opportunity slip away from them in Game 1 of the series. They entered the 3rd period with a 4-2 lead and were seemingly in control of the game. They had their lead cut to 4-3 early in the final stanza, and then they were stunned by a game tying goal from the Avalanche with just 0:14 remaining in the 3rd period. The meltdown was complete when Colorado scored the game winner 7:27 into overtime. They now have to regroup by putting that devastating loss behind them, and focus on gaining a road split with a win in Game 2 of the series. Minnesota can take solace in knowing they’ve won their last 5-games in a row when playing with exactly 1-day of rest. The Wild have now gone over the total in their last 4-games, and have seen just 2 of their previous 11 road games stay under the total.

Stealing a Win and Momentum
The young Colorado Avalanche was able to capture a dramatic win in their opening game of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. They overcame a 3rd period deficit and were led by the late game heroics of center Paul Stasny to pull out an improbable win. Stasny was able to not only score the game tying goal in the final seconds of regulation time, but also scored the overtime game winner as well. The task at hand for the Avalanche will be to take the momentum established with such an emotional win, and carry that into Game 2 of the series on Saturday evening. Colorado has now defeated Minnesota in 5 of their last 6 meetings, and has won 11 of their last 13 versus Central Division opponents.

Final Analysis
The Wild will be hard pressed to recover from their disappointing Game 1 defeat, especially having to play on enemy ice where they’ve struggled at times this season. As far as the Colorado Avalanche are concerned, they received just what the doctor ordered in the way of a boost in confidence, and the energy of the home crowd will make them a very difficult opponent on Saturday.

Free Pick: Colorado -140 over Minnesota

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