The Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild are set for a
home-and-home series that starts on Sunday. At one point in the season, both
squads looked like they could give the Vancouver Canucks are run for their
money in the Northwest Division, but now reality has set in.
The Wild have been one of the worst teams in the NHL
since the middle of December while the Avs are fighting for one of the final
playoff spots in the West.
Bettors and touts
might not be sure what to do with this game as both teams are slumping heading
into it, but the Wild’s goaltender situation should dictate the play in this
Sunday, March 4th
NHL Odds: Avalanche -115
The Colorado Avalanche can win because…
The Wild are once again mired in a miserable losing
streak. This time, the trend hit three games as the Wild put forth a
discouraging effort in a 6-0 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Friday. While
they had a brief surge last week with wins in three of four games, the reality
is that those are their only three wins in their last 14 games.
On one hand, some people might say the Wild are in a
downward trend but the reality is that this is who they are: a bad team. Their
good start to the season was fraudulent and this is who they are.
Meanwhile, the Avs are coming off a pair of tough home
losses to Pittsburgh and Columbus, but have still collected five wins in their
last eight games. Oddly enough, they’ve been a better team on the road recently
at home as they’ve picked up wins in three of their last four away games.
Throw in the fact that starting goaltender Niklas
Backstrom is out for Minnesota and the Avs should have a clear path to victory.
The Minnesota Wild can win because…
The Avs are never a sure bet.
Sure, the signs might point to an Avs win but keep in
mind that Colorado should have beat Columbus on Thursday and was silenced 2-0
at home by the worst team in the league. On Saturday, they were outclassed by
the Pittsburgh Penguins. Now they have to play their third game in four nights
while traveling to Minnesota on Sunday.
The Wild play well in this series as they’ve won 12 of
the last 16 meetings overall.
Overall, the team is pretty beat up but switching to
youngster Matt Hackett in net might give the team a rallying point. Josh
Harding has been brutal in the second half of the season and the Wild need some
sort of motivation to show up and play, and Hackett could be exactly that.
Outlook & NHL betting prediction:
Keep an eye on the goaltending situations as the Wild
have a decision to make on Sunday. Josh Harding has been awful since the
All-Star break as he’s yet to win in five tries. He’s got a 4.37 GAA in that
span and was pulled on Friday in favor of 21-year-old Matt Hackett after
coughing up six goals. If Harding is in net, it’s going to be pretty tough to
be the Wild. Keep in mind that they are already without captain Mikko Koivu and
wingers Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Guillaume Latendresse.
If Hackett is in net, then have a look at the under. He’s
2-0 so far this season and has looked great. He has a 0.63 GAA in five
appearances and a .980 save percentage. The Avs have scored just once in their
last two games and a decent effort from Hackett should keep this game under the
NHL Picks: Under