Stars vs Wild Pick, Odds: Game 4 Prediction (Sunday, April 23)

Stars vs Wild Pick, Odds: Game 4 Prediction (Sunday, April 23) article feature image

David Berding/Getty Images. Pictured: Dallas Stars players

  • The Wild maintain a 2-1 series lead over the Stars despite getting outplayed in the first three games.
  • In a crucial Game 4, Dallas need the results to start reflecting their on-ice efforts.
  • Below, Grant White breaks down the matchup and explains why the underdog Stars could finally get some puck luck today.

Stars vs. Wild Odds

Stars Odds-102
Wild Odds-118
Over/Under5.5 (+100 / -122)
Time6:30 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

It might not be reflected in the series record, but the Dallas Stars have been the superior team early in their Central Division matchup against the Minnesota Wild. The Stars entered the first round as the higher seed and have outplayed the Wild in all three contests.

Still, they find themselves in a deficit heading into a crucial Game 4.

Win, and they level the series heading back to the Lone Star State. Lose, and the Stars' backs will be against the wall as they face a win-or-go-home scenario in Game 5.

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Dallas Stars

Dallas was one of the most defensive-responsible teams during the regular season, and the Stars have maintained that standard early this postseason.

They allowed the third-fewest scoring chances and seventh-fewest high-danger opportunities per game, at 20.9 and 8.7, respectively. That's been par for the course through the opening three games of the series.

However, scoring has come less naturally for the Stars in the postseason. Dallas was held to just three goals combined in Games 1 and 3, only one of which came at five-on-five. Their outburst in Game 2 correlates with a goaltending change in Minnesota's net, as Marc-Andre Fleury appeared out of his element at the American Airlines Center.

Don't expect the Wild to make that mistake again, meaning it's up to Dallas to figure things out offensively if they want to climb back into this series.

Thankfully, the Stars have a few metrics working in their favor.

For starters, Dallas has outplayed their division rivals in all three games. Moreover, their 5.3% shooting percentage at five-on-five is substantially below their regular season average of 8.8%. Lastly, the Stars continue to maintain solid production.

We're expecting output to catch up with scoring and high-danger chances, keeping the Stars in this series.

Minnesota Wild

The Wild have defied the odds early this postseason, stealing two wins despite getting outplayed in all three contests. There's a strong relationship between their victories and the play from Filip Gustavsson.

The Swedish netminder is 2-0 with a 1.18 goals against average and 96.1% save percentage. That scorching play extends Gustavsson's recent hot streak, but he could start to see his metrics come back down to earth after reaching unsustainable levels.

Over his past 14 starts, Gustavsson has stopped 94.1% of shots faced. Impressive, yes, but well above his career norm of 92.0%. Further, he's seen a substantial increase in volume over that sample, facing an average of 34.9 shots per game, and six of those opponents surpassing the 40-shot threshold.

Gustavsson deserves some credit for stepping up to the challenge, but he can't be expected to maintain this level of play.

Unfortunately, the Wild's offense also appears to be on an unsustainable path. Minnesota has increased its scoring over the last couple of outings, despite getting outplayed and with diminished offensive production. The Wild have been limited to 32 shots at five-on-five combined over the modest two-game sample, scoring on 15.6% of shots. That's almost identical to their overall shooting percentage of 15.7%.

Both their offense and goaltending are due for regression, putting the Wild behind the eight ball in Game 4.

Stars vs. Wild Pick

Neither team has been willing to give up an inch in this series. The Stars and Wild play with defensive structure, and that's limited the amount of scoring chances available.

Somehow, Minnesota has increased its output while relying more heavily on goaltending to carry them to victory.

We expect some of that puck luck to befall the Stars in Sunday's showdown, pulling level with the Wild with only three games to go.

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