NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Wild vs. Jets (December 27)
Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Josh Morrissey, Nikolaj Ehlers and Mark Scheifele.
- The Jets are short home underdogs at home against the Wild on Tuesday night.
- The Wild were trending up while the Jets were trending down before the break, but will a fresh start give the home team new life here?
- Greg Liodice breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.
Wild vs. Jets Odds
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Fresh off the Christmas break, the Minnesota Wild head north of the border to take on the Winnipeg Jets. It’ll be the second time they face each other as the Wild dominated the Jets 6-1 earlier this season. Even though they lost their last game, the Wild have been red hot, going 7-3 in their last 10 games.
The Jets needed this break more than any team. They played five games in seven days going into it and took a beating against both the Capitals and Bruins. Granted, Winnipeg has been one of the better teams in the league and sits second in the Central Division.
Who comes off the break with a win? Find a preview and prediction for Wild vs. Jets below.
Kaprizov and the Wild Look for a Road Win
For the past three years, the Minnesota Wild have been one of the more exciting teams in the league. Russian sensation Kirill Kaprizov has registered points in five of the past six games and is averaging over a point per game. Mats Zuccarello has been a crucial part of this team with a point-per-game average as well. Behind their two stars, Matt Boldy and Joel Eriksson Ek have generated enough points to be considered high-end players.
The Wild have done a decent job at generating an even-strength attack, placing 13th in Expected Goals with a 52.04 xGF%, but they don’t create enough High Danger Chances as they only generate close to 8.5 per game. However, Minnesota’s Power Play can be very dynamic. With Kaprizov at the helm, the Wild score 23.4% of the time with the man advantage.
On the defensive end, Minnesota is one of the best at even strength. It only allows 2.17 xGA/60, but the Penalty Kill is pretty average, succeeding close to 80% of the time.
After an incredibly rough start to the season, the Wild’s goaltending has evened out. Marc-Andre Fleury may not be his Vezina-winning self, but he’s still providing stability with a -0.6 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx) and a .901 SV%. They’ve also impressed with backup Filip Gustavsson, but I think they’ll lean toward the veteran in their first game back.
Can Morrissey and the Jets Power Play Stay Hot?
Josh Morrissey has become a major story for the Winnipeg Jets. Prior to their last game against the Washington Capitals, Morrissey notched a point in 11 straight games and is having his best statistical year of his life. Behind him, both Kyle Connor and Pierre-Luc Dubois are averaging over a point per game, and Mark Scheifele remains the most lethal scorer on the team.
While the Jets are one of the top teams in the West, their even-strength numbers are subpar. Winnipeg ranks 19th in Expected Goals with a 50.03 xGF% and generates 9.2 High Danger Chances per game. That being said, the Power Play is exceptional as it scores at a 23.1% pace.
Defensively, the Jets are pretty average. They allow about 2.63 xGA/60, but the Penalty Kill is among the league’s best, succeeding nearly 82% of the time.
Connor Hellebuyck is playing like the top-three netminder he is. The former Vezina winner has been a key part to the Jets’ success, playing to a fourth-best +16.8 GSAx and a .928 SV%. Barring some unexpected turn of events, there’s no reason to second guess him starting. He will take the crease on Tuesday night.
Wild vs. Jets Pick
This one is interesting to me because Winnipeg is playing its worst hockey at the moment, while Minnesota entered the break on fire. I’d like to think of the Christmas break as a refresher though, as everyone can start off anew. The Wild have certainly been a spectacle over the past month, and it’s hard to ignore.
However, the Jets came into the break on a tiring stretch, playing some of the best teams on the road. With a refreshed team and a Vezina-caliber goaltender in the blue paint, I can see the Jets looking to get revenge on the team that embarrassed them last month.
The Wild are an incredibly undisciplined team, and one mistake can put them in trouble – especially with a free flowing Power Play like the Jets have. I’m taking Winnipeg to win this one at home.