#52 Minnesota Wildvs.#51 Winnipeg Jets
Written by Adam Rauzino
Winnipeg Jets (1-0) vs. Minnesota Wild (0-1)
NHL: Saturday, October 15, 2016 at 7:00pm EST
Line: Minnesota -145/Winnipeg +131
The Minnesota Wild will welcome the Winnipeg Jets to town in their home opener Saturday night from the Excel Energy Center. The Jets defeated the Hurricanes 5-4 in OT Thursday night, while the Wild were edged 3-2 by the Blues. The Jets handled the Wild last season, winning the season series four games to one.
The Winnipeg Jets erased a 4-1 deficit and rallied to defeat the Hurricanes 5-4 in overtime Thursday night. The Jets found their scoring touch in the third period, scoring three goals with Mark Scheifele netting the OT winner. Blake Wheeler had a big night, scoring one goal with two assists and was a plus two. The 30-year old captain had a career year last season, scoring 26 goals with 52 assists and plays on a line with Mark Scheifele, giving the Jets a dangerous first line. Patrick Laine scored a goal in his NHL debut on a laser shot from the top of the circle on the power play in the Jets 5-4 win Thursday night. Laine was the second overall pick in last year’s draft, and should net 20-30 goals this season and it is looking like the Jets have a star on their hands.
Connor Hellebuyck got the start in game one as the Jets are leaning towards him as their go-to guy, although Michael Hutchinson will see plenty of action as well. Hellebuyck wasn’t particularly sharp Thursday night, making 23 saves on 27 shots. Last season the Jets scored an average of 2.59 goals per game, ranking them 20th overall, and conceded an average of 2.88 goals per game, placing them down at 22nd overall.
The Minnesota Wild came up short against a very good St. Louis Blues team, losing 3-2 on the road Thursday night. Charlie Coyle and Ryan Suter both found the back of the net, and Suter led his team with 28 minutes of ice time which is the case most nights for the 31-year old defenseman. One player to watch for is Eric Staal as the Wild made a smart move signing him to a 3-year 10.5 million dollar deal in the offseason which could be a bargain if Staal can return to his previous form. The 31-year old centre struggled last season, notching just 39 points. He saw a lot of ice time in his first game Thursday night, logging over 19 minutes of ice time and fired three shots on goal, and was on the top line with Charlie Coyle and Zach Parise. The Wild struggled on the power play, going 0 for 5 which did not help their cause, and were outshot 31-21.
Devan Dubnyk will get the call in net for the Wild, after making 28 saves on 31 shots Thursday night. The 30-year old netminder had another solid season last year, posting a .918 saver percentage with a 2.33 GAA. Last season the Wild averaged 2.60 goals per game, ranking them 18th overall, and were solid defensively, conceding an average of only 2.49 goals per game, good for eighth in the NHL.
The Winnipeg Jets are:
The Minnesota Wild are:
I really like the Wild in this contest. I know the Jets have had success against the Wild last season but that was under former head Coach Mike Yeo. I did not like the Jets defensive game against Carolina allowing four goals, and although the Jets scored five goals in their first game, they will be facing a much stronger defensive team in the Wild who were one of the best defensive teams in the NHL last season. The Wild have the edge in goal and on defense, and I think they finally beat the Jets in their home opener.
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Adam has been a sports fanatic his entire life, closely following hockey, baseball, basketball and football. Adam enjoys analyzing various stats, as well as studying Sabermetrics and analytics to take his picks to a whole new level. Adam has a passion for writing about about various sports as well as personal finance. He graduated with a diploma in business marketing and business finance.