Two underachieving teams will face off tonight at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., as the Ducks (12-11-6) welcome the Minnesota Wild (13-11-3). The road has not been particularly kind to the Wild, who have just five wins in 14 attempts, but as a team they match up well with the Ducks. Additionally, this will be Anaheim’s third game in four nights, which was preceded by a grueling road trip.
The Ducks have done their best to work around the long-term injuries up front to Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler and Patrick Eaves, but two more significant injuries have popped over the past week: Hampus Lindholm has been ruled out for tonight, and the status of Swedish sniper Jakob Silfverberg is up in the air.
After a torrid stretch for Devan Dubnyk which saw him record three consecutive shutouts, Dubnyk followed it up by allowing four, four, four and six goals before finally coming around in wins over Vegas and St. Louis. Last time out, Dubnyk gave up four goals as the Los Angeles Kings overwhelmed Minnesota in the third period.
Once Dubnyk starts consistently playing like he is capable of, Minnesota should find a lot more success. After all, their 2.02 xGA/60 at 5-on-5 is tied for second-best in the National Hockey League. Meanwhile, the Anaheim Ducks sport the worst xGA/60 (2.66) at 5-on-5 in the Western Conference.
Given the situational advantage and Dubnyk’s success (1.68 GAA, .934 SV% in three 2016-17 starts and 1.69 GAA and .919 SV% in three 2015-16 starts) against the Anaheim Ducks over the last few seasons, backing the Minnesota Wild tonight makes a lot of sense.
Fair Odds: Wild -125