Thursday NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Minnesota Wild vs. Boston Bruins Betting Preview
Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Kirill Kaprizov
- The Boston Bruins and Minnesota Wild are trending in opposite directions, so it's no wonder that the surging B's are decent home favorites on Thursday night.
- Jonny Lazarus previews the matchup and wonders if this is a good time to buy low on Minnesota.
- Check out below why he's landed on this intriguing wager.
Wild vs. Bruins Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Minnesota Wild are desperate to win a hockey game.
A month ago, they were closing out an eight-game winning streak with a 5-2 performance over the San Jose Sharks. Since then, the Wild have fallen apart to the tune of five losses on the spin culminating in a defeat to the St. Louis Blues at the Winter Classic.
A few weeks ago the Wild looked like a lock to make the postseason. Now, they’re in a scrap and the job won’t get easier on Thursday night.
After going into the Covid-19 pause on a two-game losing streak, the Boston Bruins have started to right the ship with three wins in a row.
If this game was played a few weeks ago this line would like very different. But we’re now dealing with two teams heading in different directions. Is this a classic buy-low/sell-high spot?
The Wild Look Different This Season
Cam Talbot is listed as day-to-day for the Wild so it is assumed that Kaapo Kahkonen will get his first start since Dec. 11. Kahkonen struggled mightily last season, but he’s turned in decent returns in 2021/22. The 25-year-old Finn’s .906 save percentage may not jump off the page, but his +0.9 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx) suggests he’s been slightly above average in his eight games this campaign.
Kahkonen still has a long way to go to be a trustworthy NHL goaltender, but Boston has its own goaltending issues so it’s not a huge mismatch.
Prior to this season the Wild were known as a defense-first club, but that has changed this season as the offense has been carrying Minnesota through the first half. The Wild are third in the NHL with 3.65 goals per game, which is a bit surprising considering they are just middle of the pack in terms of expected goals and high-danger scoring chances created.
Scoring hasn’t been an issue for the Wild, but they need to find more consistency on the back-end. That won’t be easy without top-pairing defenseman Jared Spurgeon and two-way center Joel Eriksson Ek, but if Minnesota can’t improve on mediocre defensive metrics, this season could get uglier before it gets better.
The Wild come into this game ranked 10th in expected goals against, 15th in high-danger scoring chances allowed and 25th in goals allowed per 60 minutes at 5-on-5.
The Same Ol’ Bruins
The Boston Bruins have been a Stanley Cup contender for the better part of the last dozen seasons and this time around is no different. Relying on a stingy defense and the starpower at the top of the roster, the Bruins have started to look like the team we expected them to be before a sluggish start to the season.
It’s not surprising that Boston’s recent uptick in form has coincided with getting some production from players down the roster like Trent Frederic, Charlie Coyle and Curtis Lazar. While the B’s will always rely heavily on Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Charlie McAvoy, they won’t be able to contend unless their stars get some help.
And it’s not like the Bruins need to shoot the lights out to have success. Thanks to a defense that is allowing the fewest high-danger scoring chances at 5-on-5 and leads the NHL in expected goals against, the B’s can get away with some off nights on offense, so long as the goaltending holds up.
The Bruins have basically split the netminding duties down the middle to this point in the season, with Jeremy Swayman posting the stronger numbers (.919 save percentage and -0.08 GSAx) compared to Linus Ullmark (.916, -2.8 GSAx). Swayman is expected to get the start in this game.
Wild vs. Bruins Pick
The Bruins have every right to be favored in this game, but this is a tough schedule spot with the B’s playing their fourth game in six nights against a team that has played just one game since Dec. 20.
The Bruins have seemingly found their form, but I think this is a classic buy low spot on a solid team. The Wild are missing some key pieces, but their offense has been scoring at the third-best clip in the NHL at 5-on-5.
Despite their hot streak, it’s hard to trust the Bruins to score enough to justify laying this price, so I think the Wild have value as a sizable underdog on Thursday.
Pick: Minnesota Wild +135 or better