The Minnesota Wild looked rusty in Game 1 after a long layoff but how will they bounce back in Game 2. They’re again a dog on the NHL betting lines and would rather avoid an 0-2 series hole to the Blackhawks.
The Minnesota Wild Can Win Because…
They aren’t likely to get off to such a bad start. The Wild were very sloppy in the first period of Game 1, giving up three goals in the first period and most of the goals were uncharacteristic of them. There was bad defensive checking, bad coverage and bad goaltending. Even the game-winning goal was a softie, one which Devan Dubnyk doesn’t normally allow. It was a simple wrist shot from the boards that found its way through.
The Wild are a team that has been playing well for the last couple of months and it’s clear that the layoff hurt them. They were used to the momentum of games every other night and here, they appeared thrown off. They were outshot by the Blackhawks, lost the battle in the faceoff circle and had fewer takeaways. They have room for improvement. Now that they’ve had a taste of the action and got their feet into it, look for them to perform much better in Game 2 – especially Dubnyk.
The Chicago Blackhawks Can Win Because…
They cracked the code. The Wild had beaten the Blackhawks twice this season with Dubnyk in net and he had allowed just one goal in the process. However, Chicago had no problem with him in Game 1, totaling four goals in the process. They did whatever they wanted on offense as their goals weren’t even that fancy. They failed to score on their lone power play too, so the Blackhawks seemingly have room for improvement.
The Wild just lack the experience the execution to really put a scare in Chicago. Yes, they’ve had a nice couple of months but the truth is that this team just hasn’t been in this position before. The second round – with eyes beyond – is new territory for them. Chicago is up 1-0 on the series already and has a chance to put the Wild in an even more uncomfortable position. Don’t expect them to pass this opportunity up.
My thinking is still the same after Game 1 as it was before it: this series should be tied up 1-1 after Game 2. And the plan was to bet the Wild in both spots and aim for a split to be profitable. Yes, the Wild were outplayed in Game 1 but with a little bit better focus and a much better start, they should be in it for Game 2. They also need to impose their style on Chicago, which means a low-scoring, conservative game rather than getting into shootouts.
Look for the Wild with your NHL picks– and Dubnyk – to play much better in Game 2. They’ll be smarter in their own zone and they’ll make this a 2-1 type of a game. Take the Wild as a dog on the NHL odds.
NHL Pick: Wild +120 at WagerWeb