The Minnesota Wild are favored at home on Sunday afternoon as they host the Detroit Red Wings on NBC. The Red Wings have made the playoffs in each of the last 25 seasons but that streak is in serious jeopardy this season as Detroit currently is outside of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. It won’t be easy for the Red Wings on Sunday as they visit a Minnesota Wild team that has the most points in the Western Conference.
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How is this for a three-game road trip, at Washington, at Columbus and at Minnesota? It doesn’t get any more difficult than that and the Red Wings face the added problem of playing three games in four days and with no rest as they were in Columbus on Saturday. The Red Wings were 11-14 in their first 25 road games with 12 going over, 10 going under with 3 pushes.
The Wild are in the midst of a very long homestand and they were off on Saturday after hosting Tampa Bay on Friday. Minnesota was 17-7 in their first 24 home games with 13 going over the total, 8 going under with 3 pushes.
Detroit is awful on the power play as they are last in the league at just 11.4%. They are scoring just 2.4 goals per game this season. They are not that much better in penalty killing at 17th in the league at 81.4%. They are giving up 2.9 goals per game. The Red Wings could get a boost on Sunday as defenseman Niklas Kronwall is expected to return from injury.
The Wild are 13th on the power play at 20.3%. Minnesota is scoring 3.3 goals per game which is 3rd in the league. They are 13th in penalty killing at 82.1%. They are giving up just 2.3 goals per game.
Minnesota has been very balanced this season with five players with 15 goals or more. Last season the Wild had just five players score 15 goals for the entire year. Their leading scorer last year was Zach Parise who had 25 goals. They should have a number of players top that number this season.
The Red Wings have poor goaltending as neither Jared Coreau nor Petr Mrzaek has been able to step up since Jimmy Howard got hurt. Coreau is 5-5 with a 3.01 goals against average while Mrzaek is 12-18 with a 3.07 goals against average.
Minnesota has Devan Dubynk who is one of the top contenders to win the Vezina Trophy this season. He is 29-12 with a 1.99 goals against average. The backup is Darcy Kuemper who is 6-6 with a 3.22 goals against average.
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These teams have split their last eight meetings with only one of the last ten going over the total. The Red Wings have won six of the last ten at Minnesota with five of the last eight going under with three pushes.
Whenever a game is analyzed you always try and see if there is a case for the underdog but it is hard to make one for Detroit. The Red Wings are simply not as good as Minnesota in any area and it is a terrible spot for them playing their third game in four days with no rest. The Red Wings have done okay in this series at Minnesota but this year’s Wild team is simply on a different level than in past years.
I will lay the price and take the Wild to get the home win.
NHL Odds: Wild 4, Red Wings 1
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