Wild vs. Ducks Odds
|Day | Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Wednesday night and via DraftKings.|
The Minnesota Wild played their first game in over two weeks on Tuesday, and the rust was obvious in a 4-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings. While the Wild are past the peak of their COVID outbreak, four players still remain unavailable, including starting goaltender Cam Talbot.
Will the Wild find their legs for Thursday’s visit to Anaheim?
The Minnesota Wild enter Thursday’s game with an even 6-6-0 record. They occupy last place in the West Division based on points, but if you adjust for point percentage, they are fifth.
While Tuesday’s game against the Kings was ugly, Minnesota has actually played very well to begin the season. The Wild lead the league in terms of high-danger chance rate while currently ranking third in expected-goal (xG) rate.
The Wild’s bread and butter is their defensive effort. They allow plenty of shot attempts, but they limit the quality of these chances. They rank in the top five in xG-against while ranking first in high-danger chances against. Minnesota is giving up just 6.72 high-danger chances per hour.
Despite this, the Wild are being outscored 2.67 to 2.22 every hour at 5-on-5. The reason? The Wild rank bottom-10 in both 5-on-5 shooting percentage and save percentage.
Minnesota’s shooting percentage is not surprising, as the team simply doesn’t possess much high-end talent. Rookie Kirill Kaprizov has fared well in his first 12 games in the league, but outside of that, it’s been a struggle.
Kevin Fiala was expected to lead the team offensively, but he has just three points on the season. Nick Bjugstad, Marcus Johansson and Nick Bonino were brought in to strengthen the Wild down the middle, but they have just three, three and two points on the season, respectively.
As for the team’s save percentage, the Wild signed Cam Talbot in the offseason to shore up the goaltending. However, he has played just six games due to an injury and spending time on the COVID list. Kaapo Kahkonen has been disappointing in his absence, posting a -4.51 goals saved above expectation (GSAx).
The Anaheim Ducks have been a pesky bunch to begin the season, posting a 6-7-3 record through their first 16 games. Many expected the Ducks to finish towards the bottom of the standings, but they’ve done a good job of keeping games low-scoring and attempting to turn them into toss-ups.
The Ducks rank last in the league, scoring just 1.94 goals per game on average. However, they’ve stayed afloat due to the fact that they’re conceding just 2.56 goals a night, the seventh-best mark in the league.
Analytically, the Ducks are below average, but not dreadful. They’ve posted a 47.8% xG rate, ranking 16th in xG scored per hour at 5-on-5 and 23rd in xG against.
Unfortunately, Anaheim does not have the talent offensively to score at a high rate. Youngster Max Comtois has been impressive, scoring seven goals in 16 games to begin the season. However, he’s the only Ducks player to average more than a half point per game to begin the season.
Ryan Getzlaf, Adam Henrique and Jakob Silfverberg appear to have their better days behind them at this point. Youngsters like Sam Steel, Troy Terry and Isac Lundestrom have potential, but they’re not yet producing at a high level. The Ducks are in the process of transitioning from the old guard to the new guard, and the talent level shows that.
The Ducks’ best player is their goaltender, John Gibson. Gibson has been inconsistent over the past few weeks, but he’s already posted three shutouts on the young season. He’s only given up more than three goals twice since opening night. His .921 save percentage is well over league average, which is .906.
Wild vs. Ducks Analysis & Pick
Anaheim Ducks games this season are averaging just 4.5 goals. When you consider the lack of high-end offensive talent and then combine that with one of the league’s better goalies, it’s not a huge surprise. With that being said, it’s not shocking to see just four of Anaheim’s first 16 games have gone over the total.
The Wild are similar to the Ducks since they also don’t have much explosive talent. They rank 24th in goals per game.
Minnesota does a great job of limiting chances for their opponent with no team giving up less high danger chances per hour. While Kahkonen hasn’t been great in between the pipes, Anaheim struggles to score against everyone. If the Wild play their typical defensive structure, they should keep the Ducks at bay.
I do think the Wild are the better team, but I have no interest in laying juice with a road team that’s coming off an extended COVID shutdown. Therefore, my favorite play in this spot is the under.
Pick: Under 5.5 Goals