NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Wild vs. Stars (November 18)
Glenn James/Getty Images. Pictured: Miro Heiskanen
Wild vs. Stars Odds
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Dallas took advantage of some favorable schedule spots, posting consecutive 5-2 home victories over Detroit and Philadelphia teams skating in the second legs of back-to-back situations. The Stars will face a stiffer test from a Minnesota Wild team fresh off a disappointing 4-1 home loss to San Jose.
A regulation win would pull Dallas within four points of the Wild in the Central Division bracket. A regulation win would also go a long ways (+3.2% according to our friends at MoneyPuck) to helping the Stars return to the postseason after a tumultuous season last year that saw them miss out after a Stanley Cup berth in 2020.
A number of positives have come from the Stars’ recent two game stretch, including a very solid return from young netminder Jake Oettinger Tuesday against Detroit. Oettinger stopped 28 of 30 shots en route to a 5-2 victory.
Seven 5-on-5 goals over the two games is another huge positive for a Dallas club whose biggest concern the last year and a half has been even strength scoring. I expect them to continue trending upwards in that area given the depth of their roster with everyone in form.
Roope Hintz continues to look better after a surprisingly slow start. He is a player who should post bigger numbers going forward at full health while skating on an excellent line alongside Jason Robertson and Joe Pavelski.
Tyler Seguin and Alex Radulov could conceivably help compose a really strong second line when in form, particularly Radulov, who was still excellent last year when healthy and is not far removed from a dominant run to the Stanley Cup Final.
This game will also offer a big return to Minnesota for Ryan Suter, who was bought out by the Wild in a somewhat puzzling move last summer, with Wild GM Bill Guerin signing a not markedly different defender in Alex Goligoski days later.
Suter has been solid while paired with an excellent partner in John Klingberg, skating to a 50.1 xGF% at even strength over 151.7 minutes together.
In front of them, Miro Heiskanen and Essa Lindell continue to comprise a very solid top unit, and I feel that an xGF% of 51.6 may even be slightly underwhelming for the pair, who lead the Dallas back-end which is ultimately their biggest strength.
It is unclear whether Anton Khudobin or Jake Oettinger will draw the start for the contest with Braden Holtby set to miss some time, and ultimately, I’m not pricing in a significant difference between them in this game. However, I like 22-year old Oettinger’s upside more this season after a great debut season last year.
The Wild have continued to show very well in the early going this season after an excellent campaign last year, which ultimately ended with a tough seven-game loss in round one to a great Golden Knights team.
The Wild shook up their defense corps to an extent this offseason, but the key pieces remain intact for a team which drives play out of a very strong back end. Matt Dumba, Jonas Brodin, and Jarrod Spurgeon have all been notably strong again this season, and they are a big reason for the Wild’s very strong 56.18 xGF%.
Minnesota has posted a deservedly strong 10-5-0 record so far this year, and I think we can expect a postseason return for coach Dean Evason’s crew.
However, I do feel that the center corps led by Joel Eriksson Ek is rather thin, with Frederick Gaudreau skating between Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello last time out, and the third line led by Ryan Hartman.
The results have been solid so far, but it is hard for me to not feel that isn’t a potential area of concern stacking up against elite competition, or even a Dallas team offering Hintz, Seguin, and Benn down the middle tomorrow night.
Cam Talbot is projected to start for the Wild, but he has been shaky in the early going, stopping just .902% of shots faced with a -5.4 Goals Saved Above Expected rating (GSAx).
Wild vs. Stars Pick
Entering this season, I felt these two teams’ chances at success were closer than many expected, and if anything, I actually preferred the Stars roster’s upside in some regards, particularly down the middle of the ice at the very crucial center position. Behind the excellent Joel Eriksson Ek, the talent in the middle is pretty thin for Minnesota.
Should Dallas see meaningful contributions from the key offensive pieces returning to their lineup this season in Seguin and Radulov, and some continued development from Jason Robertson and Roope Hintz on one of the league’s most dominant lines last season, they could very realistically bounce back with a considerably better season after some tough luck last year.
The early sample size is not enough to deter me on that idea, and I have liked the Stars play a lot over their last two contests. I also feel that they could be ready to break through with some better results from here on out.
This is no attack on a strong Wild team, but I feel this contest is skating much closer to 50/50 than the odds indicate, and that at +120, the Stars offer some value on the road in what should be a close and hard fought Central Division clash.
Pick: Dallas Stars +120 (Play to +110)