The Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild play the first half of a home and home on Thursday night with the Wild listed as home favorites. The teams will play again on Saturday in Dallas. The Stars have been a disaster over the past few weeks and their playoff chances are almost gone, while the Wild are trying to hold onto third place in the Central Division. Let’s look at this contest on Thursday on NBCSN and NHL picks.
At 8 p.m. ET, tune into NBCSN for live television coverage of this NHL game on Thursday, March 29, 2018, at Xcel Energy Center.
We'll have NHL odds at BookMaker.eu available for this and every game on the NHL Thursday schedule.
The Stars entered this week on an 8-game losing streak. They hosted the Flyers on Tuesday before this home and home against Dallas. The Stars picked the wrong time of the season to have a losing streak and their playoff chances are all but gone. "We don't deserve to win right now," said defenseman John Klingberg before the game against the Flyers. "We're doing all of the right things before games, coaches give us all of the information, we just don't execute enough. We don't have any confidence at all in the way we're playing right now in the D-zone, the neutral zone, the O-zone. You can tell there's no confidence right now, and it's tough to play then."
Many people thought that Ken Hitchcock could come in and do a good job again as head coach, but the reality is that Hitchcock should have retired. His system simply doesn’t work any longer. His team doesn’t know whether to play wide open or to play a defensive style. Both goaltenders have struggled and Kari Lehtonen has given little indication he can do the job in place of the injured Ben Bishop. The Stars are last in the NHL in goal scoring since Feb. 11. Their eight-game winless streak is the longest for the franchise since they moved to Dallas from Minnesota in 1993.
The Stars are just 14-23 on the road this season, with 20 games going over, 16 going under, with one push. They are scoring 2.8 goals per game and giving up 2.7 per contest.
The Wild would seem to be in pretty good shape in terms of making the playoffs, but they can’t afford to get swept in this home and home by Dallas. The Wild could finish anywhere from third in the division to out of the playoffs depending on what happens in the next week or so.
Minnesota is 25-14 at home this season, with 17 games going over, 21 going under, with one push. They are scoring 3.1 goals per game and giving up 2.8 per contest.
Dallas is just 19th on the power play and they are 12th in penalty killing. The Wild are only 18th on the power play and 18th in penalty killing.
Minnesota had won four straight in this series until losing 6-1 in Dallas last month. The Wild have won the last three at home in this series, with two of the three going under.
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Home and home series can be tricky, but there is no doubt that the Wild have the edge at home, as Dallas has not played well on the road this season and Minnesota has been a good home team. I am a little leery because the Wild will be a pricey home favorite, but I still lean with Minnesota. I also think this could be a decent spot to hedge a little bit by playing the total, as if the Stars do pull off a surprise it would be a high scoring game. I will look for the sweep though and take Minnesota and the game over the total.
NHL Odds: Wild 4, Stars 2
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