Anaheim Ducks (+110) at Minnesota Wild (-121, 5.5 o/u)
The Minnesota Wild (33-23-7, 81 pts) take on the Western Conference-leading Anaheim Ducks (42-20-7, 91 pts) tonight at the Xcel Energy Center (8:00 p.m. Eastern), trying to strengthen their grip on a Wild Card spot.
A solid 8-2 run in their last ten has put the Wild in the first Western Conference Wild Card slot, one point up on the Kings (who own the second and final Wild Card berth at the moment) and three up on the Jets (who are currently on the outside looking in).
A loss to the Avalanche on Sunday put an end to Minnesota’s five-game win streak; but the team got back in the left side of the ledger on Tuesday with a dominant 6-2 win over New Jersey. Thomas Vanek led the way with two goals (his 15th and 16th of the year).
“I don’t get caught up in the measuring stick thing. We know how good can we can be, and right now it’s much more about just making sure that we stay strong in our process,” Minnesota coach Mike Yeo said after the game. “By doing that we give ourselves the best chance to get into the playoffs.”
Anaheim, meanwhile, is still on top of the Western Conference with 91 points, though St. Louis and Nashville have both drawn level and the Blues have two games in hand.
The Ducks are 6-4 in their last ten, but have lost three in a row coming into tonight. The team let a 2-0 lead slip away in Calgary on Wednesday, ultimately falling 6-3 to Johnny Gaudreau and the Flames. Goalie John Gibson gave up six goals on just 23 shots to take the loss.
“We’re going to look at video to see what we could’ve done better, but the guys on this team are going to have to look themselves in the mirror and bear down,” defenseman Hampus Lindholm told the league’s official website. “We can correct these mistakes as we get closer to the playoffs.
Anaheim has owned Minnesota of late, taking eight of the last ten head-to-head. But the road Ducks are listed at +110 in the moneyline, while the home Wild are -121. The over/under is at 5.5.
(Photo credit: Resolute (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)