Take Pumped-Up Wild As Your NHL Pick vs. Struggling Flames

Dana Lane

Wednesday, February 17, 2016 3:19 PM UTC

Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016 3:19 PM UTC

Despite being 2-6-2 in their last ten games the Minnesota Wild (24-22-10 58pts) are still within striking distance of a wild card spot. Let's review the NHL odds first!

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NHL Pick: Wild -116
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle


Wild vs. Flames
The Minnesota Wild haven't won two games in a row this season, perhaps it took a coaching change to make that happen. Interim Head Coach, John Torchetti, won his Wild debut with a 5-2 win at Vancouver. Funny thing about coaching changes, teams always seem to respond positively. I'm willing to back the good feelings until I see the team who got Mike Yeo fired.  

It was a perfect time to let Yeo go. They dropped an unispired 4-2 decision to the Boston Bruins, which was their eighth straight loss, and then faced a three game Western Canadian swing against three winnable opponents, Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton. They began the trip with their best effort in weeks against the Canucks. Now they face the Flames who are more focused on the 2017 season than they are finishing this one on a positive note. Despite all their recent troubles the Wild are just 4 points out of the last wild card spot. 

Torchetti said he believes his club will come out hungry, ready to prove themselves again. The five goals against Vancouver was the first time the Wild scored at least three goals in 17 games. 

Part of what had been missing is big perfomances from their star players, two of which finally showed up against Vancouver. Goaltender, Devan Dubnyk stopped 24 shots while winning for the first time in nine starts. Zach Parise scored his 18th goal after being held without a goal in eight games. 

The Wild have had the Flames number beating them seven of of the last nine games with one overtime loss. Parise has seven goals and three assist in those contest. Dubnyk is 7-1-2 with a 1.77 goals against in his last ten starts against Calgary. 

The Flames appear to have given up and I question whether Bob Hartley's job is safe. The Flames have given up 15 goals in their last three games with nine of those on the power play. Recent games against San Jose and Arizona saw them allow 16 power play opportunities while giving up six goals in a loss to Anahiem Monday. The Flames have the worst penalty kill in the NHL at 73.4%. 

The Flames goaltending is a mess since Karri Ramo was placed on injured reserve. His back-up, Jonas Hiller, has started the last two games, looking bad in both outings. Hiller allowed four goals in each. His goals against average is a sky high 3.22.  You could argue that he is one of the worst goaltenders in the league. We'll have to see at morning skate if Ramo is first off the ice,  Joni Ortio is his back-up but he has been poor at the NHL level.

The Flames are 3-8 in their last 11 games against teams that allowed two goals or less in their previous game.  That means that the Flames are not strong enough offensively to stop defensive confident teams. We're backing Minnesota with our NHL picks in this one, where they are favorites in the NHL odds boards.

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