NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Wild vs. Blackhawks (February 2)
Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: The Minnesota Wild celebrate a goal against the Islanders.
- The Blackhawks host the Wild Wednesday night as short home underdogs.
- The Wild have won five straight games, but are they overvalued in this matchup?
- Tony Sartori breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.
Wild vs. Blackhawks Odds
|Time||9:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute NHL odds here.|
The Wild travel into Chicago to take on the Blackhawks in a Central Division tilt for the third time this season. The Wild have won both of the first two meetings 5-1 and 4-3.
Will the Wild continue their dominance over Chicago, or can the Blackhawks steal one as a home dog tonight?
Wild on a Roll
The Wild have been playing tremendous hockey recently, winning five straight games and six of their last nine. Of those eight wins, six have come in regulation.
Part of the Wild’s success has been their deep forward group. Minnesota ranks 14th in the league in 5-on-5 Expected Goals For per 60 minutes (xGF) and eighth in 5-on-5 Shots On Net percentage.
The Wild have been scoring in bunches in recent games as they have scored four or more goals in five of their last seven games. But perhaps an even bigger contributor to their success has been their blue line.
The Wild’s defense has been terrific this season, as they currently rank ninth in the league in 5-on-5 Expected Goals Against per 60 minutes (xGA) and have the second-lowest Average Expected Goal Value of opposing 5-on-5 shot attempts. Their blue line has been sharp in recent games, having allowed three or fewer goals in five straight games and in eight of their last nine.
Cam Talbot will be getting the start tonight and has been good between the pipes recently. Over his last twelve starts, Talbot is 8-3-1 with a 0.916 SV%.
Fleury and the Blackhawks Floundering
Across the ice, Marc-Andre Fleury is the projected starting goaltender for the Blackhawks. Clouded with trade rumors, Fleury’s recent play has taken a dive.
Over his last six starts, Fleury is 1-4-1 with a 0.857 SV%. Though, this is not entirely on him as the team in front of him has been awful as a whole.
The ‘Hawks currently rank 29th in the league in 5-on-5 Expected Goals For per 60 minutes and have the ninth-lowest Average Expected Goal Value of 5-on-5 shot attempts. Chicago is currently having trouble even getting shots on opposing goaltenders, as they have the third-lowest 5-on-5 Shots On Net percentage.
Their offense has taken more steps back recently, heavily overshadowed by an outlier eight-goal outing against the Red Wings. Apart from that uncharacteristic performance, the ‘Hawks have scored three or fewer goals in seven of their last nine games.
Chicago continues to slide down the Central Division as they now sit in seventh place with just the Coyotes below them. Four of Chicago’s last six games have been regulation losses.
The Wild have had Chicago’s number over the past few seasons as they have won three straight contests and six of the last 10 in this matchup. This is a “do not overthink it” game for me as the Wild are better statistically and analytically in every major category.
The Wild are also the hotter team, winning five straight and eight of the last nine. Minnesota has won their last six games as a favorite, and I think they will make It seven Wednesday on national television.
Pick: Minnesota Wild 3-Way ML (+100) | Play up to (-115)
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