NHL Odds, Preview, Expert Pick: Rangers vs. Wild (October 13)
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Igor Shesterkin (Rangers)
- The Wild open their season with a home game against the Rangers.
- Minnesota is favored, but our expert thinks there may be some value on the underdog.
- Ryan Dadoun previews this matchup and shares his best bet below.
Rangers vs. Wild Odds
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Rangers started the campaign with an encouraging 3-1 victory on Tuesday against one of the best teams in the league in the Lightning. However, they now have another tough game on the docket as they travel to Minnesota for the Wild's season opener.
New York Rangers
New York's 3-1 victory over Tampa Bay can be seen as a textbook example of how the Rangers hope to get their wins this season.
After winning the Vezina Trophy by a comfortable margin last season, Igor Shesterkin picked up right where he left off by saving 25 of 26 shots. The only time Tampa Bay was able to best him Tuesday was when it had a two-man advantage. Otherwise, he had a perfect opener.
Up front Mika Zibanejad led the charge, scoring both a shorthanded and a power-play goal. That shorthanded marker, which also served as the Rangers' first goal of the season, was particularly impressive and demonstrated just how dangerous he can be in front of the net.
Barclay Goodrow accounted for the Rangers' third goal, which came the 11-minute mark of the third period and provided the Rangers with some insurance.
One game is not a noteworthy sample size, but it did reinforce what we already knew: New York is among the teams to beat this season. Though, the same can be said for the Wild …
The Wild have traditionally been a defense-first franchise, but that wasn't how they got their wins last season. Cam Talbot, Kaapo Kahkonen and Marc-Andre Fleury all provided acceptable goaltending for Minnesota, but the team really shined at the other end of the ice.
In just his second NHL season, Kirill Kaprizov made a strong case for being the best forward the Wild have ever had. He set franchise records for most goals and points in a single season with 47 and 108, respectively. He was far from the team's only offensive weapon, too. Kevin Fiala, Mats Zuccarello and Ryan Hartman each provided Minnesota with at least 65 points. Meanwhile Hartman, Fiala and Joel Eriksson Ek each surpassed the 25-goal milestone.
Minnesota averaged 3.72 goals per game, which was by far the most in franchise history. That propelled the Wild to a 53-22-7 record, though the team still has a lot to prove as they lost to the St. Louis Blues in the first round last season and haven't won a playoff series since 2015.
Of more immediate concern, Minnesota's cap constraints forced them to trade Fiala to Los Angeles over the summer. While the Wild still have a strong forward core? Fiala's absence has created a big hole and it remains to be seen if Minnesota will be able to fill it.
In goal, the Wild are putting their hopes in Fleury. He's had an amazing career and has aged better than most, but he turns 38 in November and it remains to be seen how much longer he can keep this up.
Despite those question marks, this isn't a team that can be taken lightly.
Rangers vs. Wild Pick
Even with the game taking place in Minnesota, it's surprising to me that the spread is 1.5 goals in favor of the Wild. Minnesota is a great team, even without Fiala, but the Rangers are one of the best in the NHL and this has the makings of a close, hard-fought contest. For that reason, I like the Rangers a lot on the puck line.
However, the -225 odds for the puck line aren't too enticing. If you want to have the best chance of winning, I think that's the way to go, but I also like the Rangers enough to pick them straight up on the moneyline.
The one x-factor though is the Rangers' goaltending. New York is likely going to start Shesterkin on Thursday night, but if the Rangers ultimately go with Jaroslav Halak for what will be the first half of a back-to-back, then that would be enough to make me shy away from recommending the Rangers. I strongly recommend keeping an eye on the goaltending situation.
Pick: New York Rangers Moneyline +115, (play to +105)