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Minnesota Wild vs. St. Louis Blues best bet handicapper Ben Rajavuori for this first-round showdown in the West on Wednesday night. Can the Wild even the series on their home ice?
ANALYSIS

Minnesota Wild vs. St. Louis Blues Prediction: Will the Wild Bounce Back in Game 2?

The Minnesota Wild will face off against the St. Louis Blues in Excel Energy Center tonight in game two of the Stanley Cup playoffs, starting at 9:30 p.m. ET. In game one, the Wild were embarrassed on their home ice, getting shut out in a 0-4 loss. The Wild desperately need a win tonight to avoid taking an 0-2 start to the series on the road.

Wild vs. Blues Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

Date: May 4, 2022

Game Time: 9:30 pm ET

Where to Watch: ESPN

Puck Line: Wild -1 (+118)

Click Here for Wild vs Blues Game 2 Odds

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Wild vs. Blues Line Movement

Minnesota Wild vs. St. Louis Blues Prediction

Interestingly enough, the Wild are even heavier favorites than in game one, despite the 0-4 shutout loss. Perhaps the books see it the same way I do when looking at this game. Let me be frank upfront, though. I am a Wild fan, and I don't let that affect my betting. Even though the Wild were a great team this year and finished the season with 53 wins, I barely took them throughout the season. I also didn't take them in game one because I didn't like the spot and line on them. Rest assured, I do not blindly back my own team simply because I'm a fan. However, I think game two is a perfect spot to back the home team to even the series.

There's a good case that the Wild "outplayed" the Blues in game one. I put outplayed in quotations because any team that loses 0-4 doesn't have a good case to say they outplayed the other team, but the box score is interesting. The Wild owned the better of many categories in the game. The Wild out-shot the Blues 37 to 31, out-hit the Blues 23 to 22, and won 52.1% of the faceoffs. The Wild looked excellent in the 5-on-5 play, and surprisingly they had 1.63 expected goals compared to .89 goals for the Blues in game one due to how the Wild looked in even play. It's the power play that killed the Wild.

The Wild had 28 penalty minutes in game two that resulted in six total power plays for the Blues, which the Blues took full advantage of, scoring on two of them. Foligno had 14 penalty minutes, and Fiala had six himself, two key players for the Wild who have to play more disciplined tonight. I'm sure every coach in the locker room will be pounding it through the Wild player's heads to play more disciplined tonight, so I expect to see fewer power plays for the Blues. Every chance the Blues get is massive, considering how well the Blues play in the man advantage. The Blues are second in the NHL in scoring with a man advantage at 27%. The Wild, conversely, are 25th in defending the power play, and teams scored in 24% of man advantages against the Wild this season. If the Wild don't stay out of the box tonight, they can likely kiss the series goodbye.

The Wild played excellent hockey at home this year. They were third in the NHL (just behind the Panthers and Avalanche) in home games with a 31-8-2 record. The Wild averaged 4.1 goals per game at home while allowing 2.9. The Blues aren't a bad road team, though, and proved that in game one. The Blues were second in goals scored on the road and averaged 3.6 goals per game on the road this season but also allowed 3.05. They finished the season with a 23-18 record on the road.

These are two prolific offenses, and I expect a higher scoring game than game one. The Wild had more high-danger scoring chances than the Blues in game one but couldn't put any in the net. Husso is a good goalie, but he hadn't had a shutout in 29 games before the one the other night. Husso has a 2.93 GAA on the road in his career.

I'm honestly not sure (as a Wild fan) if "we" have what it takes to win this series. However, the Wild were one of the best teams on their home ice this year and played well in game one, despite what the score says. The Wild were -130 in game one and are now -140 after being shut out, which is telling to me. This series feels like it will take seven games to determine a winner, and I would be shocked if the Wild lost back-to-back games at home to drop to 0-2. The Wild were one of the strongest teams at home in the NHL this year, and I expect a stronger outing for game two. The Blues are a feisty team who excel on the power play, so if Minnesota can stay out of the box tonight, this should be their chance to tie the series.

Minnesota Wild vs. St. Louis Blues Pick

Article Author

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Ben Rajavuori is a handicapper out of Minneapolis, MN. He has been creating sports content for almost four years now and is an expert in all things NFL, MLB, NBA, UFC, and NCAAB. Ben thrives on diving deep into statistics to find the best angle on every bet. You can follow him on Twitter @WeBeatTheSpread.

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