Stars to Get Offense Going vs. Wild as Total Lands 'Over'

Dana Lane

Thursday, March 29, 2018 3:29 PM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 29, 2018 3:29 PM UTC

A recent losing streak damaged Dallas' playoff hopes, but the "over" is 7-2-1 in their last 10 games in Minnesota. There should be enough scoring tonight to extend that trend. 

Thursday NHL: Stars vs. WildFree NHL Pick: Over 5.5, +102Best Line offered: Pinnacle

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The Dallas Stars (39-30-8, 86 points, +8 goal differential) are looking to build off Tuesday's victory against Philadelphia. Dallas broke an eight-game losing streak, one that pushed the Stars five points out of the final wild-card spot in the West. Since March 1 the Stars are just 3-7-4. Sometimes teams just need a little luck, something we saw against Philly when Brett Ritchie deflected Alexander Radulov's shot to tie the game in the second period. Nothing pretty, but they did look as if the swagger was back. I’m banking on them carrying that swagger into tonight.

The Minnesota Wild (42-24-10, 94, +18) went to Nashville on Tuesday and stood toe to toe with the defending Western Conference champions before losing 2-1 in a shootout. The Wild were very good in their end but offensively they were as bad as I’ve seen them all season, and that’s the kind of thing that can happen against the Predators. The Wild will be better offensively tonight because the pace with which the Stars play allows the opposition to get an increased number of chances in transition.

The Stars will start Kari Lehtonen (13-13-3, .912, 2.54) in goal, while Devan Dubnyk (32-14-7, .917, 2.57) is the Wild's probable starter in the Central Division matchup at 8 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Network).

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In his first season with the Stars, @RADUL22 has set a new career high in NHL goals with 27 (and counting). #GoStars pic.twitter.com/rScb8LQEtx

— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) March 28, 2018
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Dallas easily handled Minnesota 6-1 in February at home. Lehtonen made 30 stops for the Stars, who outshot the Wild 37-18. Minnesota goalie Alex Stalock allowed four goals through two periods before being replaced by Dubnyk.

The Wild are getting a little support, as the number on the NHL odds board is up to -155 from its opening -150. It is too far out of my price range right now and it’s not going down, which is why I’m looking at the total for my NHL picks. The Wild are -160 at Bovada.

The total opened at 5.5 with a small amount of "under" money coming in, forcing the juice to move slightly to the "under," now at -117 at Pinnacle from the opening number of -115. I’ll wait until game-time to get the best of this number unless I can find something in the +110 range.

Many are calling this a must-win game for the Stars, but I think the playoff ship sailed during their eight-game losing streak. The pace will be slower than usual for Stars games because of their lack of confidence, a trait that has been echoed in their locker room and the fact that’s the type of game Minnesota would rather play.

The Xcel Energy Center is usually not the place for teams to get healthy or for bettors to cash "over" tickets. Minnesota is only 17-21-1 cashing the "over" at home, but let's go against that trend and get another winner.

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