NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Wild vs Senators (Saturday, November 18)
Photo by Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Tim Ttutzle.
Wild vs. Senators Odds
In Stockholm for the NHL’s Global Series, the Minnesota Wild will square off against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday.
Minnesota is currently experiencing some hard times, undergoing a three-game losing streak. Most recently, it was trounced by the Stars at home, 8-3. Perhaps the five-day break and a road trip will help the Wild as they back-to-back games in Sweden.
Ottawa will be playing its second game in the Global Series. Most recently, the Senators came out on top in overtime against the Red Wings. After undergoing some turmoil, they seem to have righted the ship by winning three of their last four games.
Here’s a look at the odds, as well as my betting prediction between the Minnesota Wild and Ottawa Senators.
While the Wild are going through a rough stretch, most of their top players are playing up to par. Both Mats Zuccarello and Kirill Kaprizov are playing to a point per game and Joel Eriksson Ek is on track for a career year.
They do need more out of Matt Boldy, who only has one goal in eight games. While he’s done a good job at playmaking, more goals were expected from the youngster.
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The underlying numbers aren’t very kind to the Wild. While they’re solid defensively at 5-on-5 with a 2.68 xGA/60, the even-strength offense has squandered, ranking 25th in expected goals with a 47.22 xGF%
Special teams is another concern for this team. With the type of playmakers Minnesota has, one would think it would be better on the power play than scoring at a 17.5% clip. The penalty kill is an atrocity, and probably why it’s struggled in the standings, succeeding at a league worst 63%.
Goaltending has been a massive problem for the Wild. Coach Dean Evason said that Filip Gustavsson will get the start in his home nation. Fresh off a three-year extension he signed in the offseason, the Swede is not performing up to snuff. After a career year last year, he’s playing to an .872 SV% and a -7.3 goals saves above expected (GSAx).
On Thursday, Tim Stutzle made highlights around the NHL after his overtime goal on Thursday. The German forward is rapidly becoming a star in the league. Veteran Claude Giroux has provided the production that was expected of him when he signed, and captain Brady Tkachuk is nearing the league lead in goals with 10. This is a well-rounded team, and yet it still is last in the Atlantic.
The talent is there, but the execution is not. The Senators are near the bottom in every 5-on-5 stat. They’re 30th in expected goals with a dreadful 43.9 xGF%, and are 26th with a 3.00 xGA/60.
Special teams is a bumpy road as well. For the most part, the power play does its job, scoring 21.3% of the time. The penalty kill, however, needs to be better as it only succeeds at a 75% rate.
Between the pipes, I’m curious to see who starts. Joonas Korpisalo has been the superior netminder so far, but he started against Detroit on Thursday. It would be the perfect opportunity for the Swede Anton Forsberg to get redemption from a poor start to the season. In five games, Forsberg is playing to an .833 SV% and a -5.1 GSAx.
Wild vs. Senators
Betting Pick & Prediction
FanDuel has this game set pretty even, and I would agree for the most part. Minnesota is struggling, and I can’t emphasize that enough. Ottawa is on the upswing, but those 5-on-5 numbers have to be better. With the Sens already playing in Sweden, and getting their feet under them, I consider them at an advantage.
The Wild haven’t played in five days, and I’m sure they are still getting adjusted to the new surroundings. Also, if they find themselves in the penalty box too many times, it could be detrimental. Ottawa at least has a decent power play, and have had solid depth scoring all around. If Minnesota finds itself in the box more than three times, I’d be stunned if they stop them all.
I like the Senators at +100. I think they have a better chance to win given how both teams have been playing of late. Goaltending will be critical, too, and maybe Gustavsson has the game of his life in front of his home country. But I’m willing to get he won’t.
Pick: Senators ML (+100)
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