Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 1:40 PM EST.
8:05 PM EST. OT included. Minnesota is coming off a 6-1 loss in Dallas but that works in their favor here, as teams’ almost always respond positively to being humiliated. Two games ago, the Wild defeated Vegas 5-2 and dominated that game from start to finish. Last game aside, the Wild are playing their best hockey of the season right now. They are the healthiest team in the NHL with nobody on the rack and their metrics over their last 10 games are trending the right way. In 5v5 Score and Venue Adjusted rankings over the past 10 games (for every team), the Wild rank 3rd in High Danger Chances Against, 1st in High Danger Chances For, 14th in Corsi Against/60, 9th in Corsi For/60, 12th in Shots For/60 and 13th in Shots Against Per 60. That’s pretty good stuff but what we like most is that they have progressively gotten better for four consecutive weeks. As the schedule hits the stretch drive, Bruce Boudreau, who has been doing this forever, has his team starting to peak at precisely the right time. If the season ended today, Minnesota would be the second Wild Card team so they’re right in the thick of things. Having played Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Vegas and Dallas in four of its last six games, Minnesota takes a step down in class here.
St. Louis has 67 points (six more than Minnesota) but they’ve also played two more games than St. Louis so there is little that separates these two in the standings, at least on paper. On the ice, it’s a different story. The Blue Notes have won four of their last five games but pretty it was not. The four wins occurred against Ottawa, Montreal, Colorado and Buffalo. Those are four teams that will be booking tee-off times in April. The only playoff-bound team that the Blues have played over that stretch was Boston and the ice was tilted the entire game in Boston’s favor. Not only was St. Louis dominated but that was the first game of their annual Dad’s trip and the B’s made them look like amateurs. Over their last 10 games, St. Louis has played Ottawa (x2), Florida and Arizona aside from the others mentioned above. Incidentally, when they hosted the Coyotes six games ago, St. Louis lost 5-2 and got outshot 44-27. They also lost to the Panthers, 7-4. Playing an easy stretch of games over their last 10, the Blue Notes analytics are miserable. They scored one goal against Buffalo last game in a 1-0 victory. That was after scoring once against Boston. Just once over their last eight games have they scored more than three times. Playing the 24th ranked strength of schedule, St. Louis has six wins in 16 games against top10 teams and 12 wins in 25 games against top-16. They have beaten up on teams not going to the playoffs and a close look reveals that there is nothing but signs of trouble on the horizon. Put the Blue Notes high on our fade list and we’ll start that attack on them here.
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Minnesota +125 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.50)