Stanley Cup Playoffs Picks: Two Bets For Game 2 Of Wild vs. Stars

Doug Upstone

Saturday, April 16, 2016 1:00 PM UTC

Saturday, Apr. 16, 2016 1:00 PM UTC

For a period, Minnesota played like they were capable of playing on even terms with Dallas in the Stanley Cup playoffs with score tied at 0-0. Unfortunately for the Wild, that's no longer the case.

Minnesota was extremely physical with the Stars to begin the contest and it worked, taking Dallas out of any sort of offensive rhythm. The Wild were somewhat lucky they escaped three different minor penalties they incurred against the league's fourth-best power play. However, after that juncture, coach Lindy Ruff had his team move the puck a little quicker, Dallas avoided hits and defensively turned the screws on Minnesota and they won going away 4-0.

The Stars NHL odds for this contest opened at -200, which is 15 cents higher from the last contest's close and at last look, BetDSI was at -210. What is anything can Minnesota do?


Minnesota Has Only One Option
Without Zach Parise and Thomas Vanek, interim coach John Torchetti lacks the answers to find players who can score. In losing six straight, Minnesota has tallied a grand total of six goals and been shutout twice. With extremely limited options, the Wild tried the physical method, but they could not make it last. Trying to play faster to generate more offensive chances will not work, as they lack the players to play that way, certainly on the road, and besides that is the preference of their high-scoring opponent.

Minnesota best option might be to slow the game down to a crawl, play the game between the blue lines and frustrate Dallas. Not allowing them to make long passes takes away one major element of their offense and if they can keep the middle of the ice clogged, it would work to their advantage.

Offensively, the Wild have to keep making the extra pass to force their opponent to play defense and if they have puck possession, this might make the Stars anxious and they draw penalties, creating more offensive opportunities for Minnesota.

Otherwise, the Wild have to be strong with the puck and goalie Devan Dubnyk has to be better.


Dallas Just Has to Play Focused
It was not like the Stars players didn't know Minnesota would start out trying to bump them off their game, yet it was clear by body language they were bothered. Coach Ruff's crew figured it out, particularly Jason Spezza, who scored and added an assist. It was his first playoff action in three years when he was Ottawa and played with the necessary passion.

The fact is Dallas has so many more offensive ways to score than Minnesota, the team's truly greatest worry is being overconfident and taking it for granted they win the game. This essentially happened on Jan.9 in American Airlines Arena.

The Stars were coming off 0-3 road trip, slipped by Winnipeg 2-1 and after playing Minnesota, they were going to be off for six days. The Wild was just starting their decent which would cost coach Mike Yao his job, but they were the sharper squad and escaped with a stunning 2-1 upset.

Granted, Minnesota was more at full strength and Dallas was not playing as well, however, it does point to carrying out your assignments and doing your job.


What to Expect and Winner
For making NHL picks, you have three ways to go. The safest is playing the chalky money line at -210, because Dallas seems almost certain to win. The puck line make sense from a value perspective, but four of the past six meetings have been one goal outcomes and do really want to pay the juice on the Wild to catch +1½?

Otherwise, the second most inviting wagering proposition is the total and given Minny's scoring conundrum, the Under 5 has really possibilities. For this hockey handicapper, I'll take the Stars on the money line and make play on the Under.

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NHL Pick:  Dallas -178 & Under 5 +120
Best Line Offered: at Betonline & Heritage

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