Laine, visitors aim to extend Minny's skid
A season that started so promisingly for the Wild is spinning out of control down the stretch. Can Bruce Boudreau’s troops find a way to right themselves against Winnipeg this afternoon?
The two clubs are preparing to clash in Manitoba, with a 5 p.m. ET opening faceoff at MTS Centre. Online sports book Bovada.lv gives Minnesota odds of -115 to emerge victorious. The Jets, on the other hand, represent -105 underdogs.
Minny has lost seven of nine and trails the first-place Blackhawks by five points in the Central Division. In fact, the Wild’s March record (2-7) hovers near the bottom of the Western Conference. The usually reliable Devan Dubnyk continues to languish in net, too, as he possesses a 2.70 GAA and .890 save percentage over the past 12 days.
Yet St. Paul’s finest will still secure a playoff berth, unlike Paul Maurice’s crew. Winnipeg, at 31-33-7, could conceivably wind up with the West’s second-lowest point total. The only bright spot: rookie Patrik Laine, whose 33 tallies put him one out of the top three in the NHL.
Recent struggles aside, the Wild should be able to sweep the season series vs. the Jets. Don’t expect anything resembling an offensive clinic, though. After all, Boudreau’s squad last potted three markers in a single tilt more than a week ago.
SUNDAY NHL FREE PICK: WILD/JETS UNDER 6 GOALS