NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Wild vs Red Wings (Sunday, November 26)
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Wild vs. Red Wings Odds
After cruising into the playoffs in each of the past four seasons, the Wild are 5-9-2 and on the verge of a highly disappointing season.
They have lost six straight and are set to face a Detroit side that's 10-6-3 overall and 6-3-1 at home.
That being said, there may be value on Minnesota today, so let's get to my Wild vs. Red Wings prediction.
Over the past four seasons, Minnesota has quietly been one of the NHL's most dominant regular-season teams. They own a combined record of 169-90-30 in that time.
Some notable pieces such as Kevin Fiala and Matt Dumba are no longer with the team, but much of their highly successful core remains intact.
The Wild could be viewed as a potential regression candidate this season, but what we've seen so far is stunning nonetheless.
Captain and top defenseman Jared Spurgeon returned on Nov. 10, and the Wild have played at near full health since. For a number of reasons, the results still haven't been there, but it might be foolish to write this core off entirely. The talent on Minnesota's roster suggests it should be able to collect points at a playoff pace moving forward.
Minnesota has shown signs of life recently with quality performances against good teams. The Wild suffered a tough-luck overtime loss to Toronto, and they fell on Friday to Colorado in a closely contested matchup that could have gone either way.
In the past 10 games, they have played to a 50.93% expected goal rate, a sample that comes versus a far tougher-than-average schedule.
Goaltender Filip Gustavsson's shaky form so far is likely the greatest causation of the Wild's sluggish start. Gustavsson owns a -6.2 GSAx and a .882 save % in 10 appearances.
However, he was solid Friday versus Colorado and had a great showing versus Ottawa in the Global Series.
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The Red Wings' strong start has been one of the more enjoyable stories this season.
It's always fun seeing a lengthy rebuild start to pay off, especially when it comes in a hockey market that deserves more success than it has seen lately.
It's interesting to note that Detroit started last season 11-5-4 before falling off and finishing with just 80 points. So, how much more legitimate are the Red Wings this season?
It seems fair to say that they can end up a fair bit better than last season.
Alex DeBrincat was Detroit's most notable acquisition this summer, and he's been excellent with 12 goals and 20 points. J.T. Compher has also had a strong start to the season and Daniel Sprong has provided depth scoring as expected. Defenseman Justin Holl has also been more of a net positive than some might have expected.
Even still, the Red Wings have played to an xGF% of only 47.26 in their past 10 games. They have had some favorable luck in front of their own goal and appear due to allow more goals if they don't sharpen up defensively.
Alex Lyon has been confirmed as Sunday's starting goaltender. He was excellent down the stretch last season, helping the Panthers sneak into the final wild-card spot. In his first two appearances this season, he owns a 1.4 GSAx and a .944 save %.
The Wild's core remains close to what it has been over the past several seasons, and even though I didn't view them as a contender this season, what we've seen so far is shocking.
It really feels like the Wild are on the cusp of making a push and moving in the right direction. This could be their low point in terms of form while the Red Wings might start to regress.
From here on out, I expect the Wild to generate points at a higher clip than Detroit. With Spurgeon back in the mix, Minnesota grades out as a slightly better side than Detroit, particularly if Minnesota's goaltending stabilizes.
The actual results of the games thus far help us get the Wild at a better number than we might see later on. Anything better than -110 is a bet for me on Minnesota. This is a true buy-low spot.