NHL Playoffs Sunday Free Pick
Minnesota Returns Home Down 0-2: Is There Value in the Wild vs. the Jets?
The Wild have looked a bit lethargic through the first two games of their opening round postseason series against the Jets. They say a playoff series doesn’t start until you lose a game at home which bodes well for Minnesota, who had one of the best home records in the NHL this year at 27-6-7. Winnipeg doesn’t care as they’ve thrown their weight around through the first two games of the series, winning 3-2 and 4-1 on their home ice. Oddsmakers are calling the April 15th NHL free pick a dead split as both teams are listed at -110. Is it flip a quarter time or does the home team have the advantage?
Jets Facing Some Travel Issues
Winnipeg has the tradition of the Winter Whiteout where fans don all white to intimidate opponents venturing from Spring time into the United States up to the snow and ice that still remains in the Great North. Ironically, a freak blizzard in the Twin Cities over the weekend forced the Jets tried to land in nearby Duluth but returned home to fly to Minneapolis early Sunday. The Atlanta Thrashers / Winnipeg Jets won their first playoff game in franchise history in game one of this series, but Mother Nature just made it that much harder to win their first road postseason contest in the April 15th NHL free pick.
At the very least the Jets have the confidence of winning the first two games of this series rather handily. The Jets have wore down the Wild in the first two periods of each game behind the defense of Tyler Myers and Dustin Byfuglien only to outscore Minnesota by a combined 5-3 in the third. Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck has been solid, but the defense in front has made his job easy by limiting the Wild to 37 combined shots in two games. Winnipeg meanwhile has pelted the Wild defense to the tune of 84 shots in two games.
Can Minnesota Find Their Offensive Stride in Game Three?
The Jets are a tough, rugged team that is definitely gaining confidence as the series goes on. The Wild really are in a must-win situation in the April 15th NHL free pick and that starts with getting their offense rolling. Eric Staal had 42 goals on the season but has just 3 total shots through the first two games of the series. Coach Bruce Boudreau has altered the lines a bit so that Mikael Granlund joins Staal’s first line, but is it going to be enough? Either way the Wild will need another big night from Zach Parise, who has goals in the first two games of the series.
One of the biggest benefits going for the Wild besides their home ice advantage is the play in net of Devan Dubnyk. Despite all the statistical disparities in the Jets favor, each of the first two games have been just 1-0 Winnipeg heading into the 3rd. Minnesota definitely misses D Ryan Suter who is out for the year with an ankle injury, but the home ice adrenaline as well as the travel issues the Jets have faced may be enough to steal one on Sunday night.
April 15th NHL Free Pick Betting
Oddsmakers don’t know what to expect from Game 3 as they’ve listed both teams at -110 for the night. The Wild did get a 4-1 win on their own ice when the two teams met up in the regular season on January 13th. If this were game 4 and the Jets were up 3-0, the crowd might not be a factor but they know there’s still a fighting chance with a win tonight. It’s hard to argue with either side of the wager tonight, but in this situation the home team has the advantage.
Free Pick: Minnesota Wild -110