Winnipeg Jets (2-1-0) at Minnesota Wild (0-1-2)
|Date & Time||Thursday October 10, 2013, 8:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Minnesota Wild -126 / Winnipeg Jets +114 --- Over/Under: 5.5
The Winnipeg Jets head into Minnesota looking for their third straight victory as they take on the Wild who are seeking their first victory of the season.
The Jets have moved over to the Western Conference this season which works out very well for them as they avoid a ridiculous travelling schedule and don’t have to always acclimate themselves with time zone changes, and the West has but 14 teams to decide eight playoff positions while the East has 16. Winnipeg is a very well balanced team as they have a lot of role players as well as game changers at both ends of the rink and surprisingly aren’t getting as much respect as they should. Evander Kane headman’s an impressive forward unit that includes Blake Wheeler, Mark Schiefele, and Andrew Ladd while Dustin Byfuglien and Tobias ENstrom anchor a blue line that plays in front of Ondrej Pavelec who has stepped up his game so far this season. Heading into Minnesota which is the closest road venue to a very thirsty Winnipeg hockey market you can be sure the Jets faithful will be very well represented at the Xcel Energy Centre.
The Wild are also one of those cusp teams that have a lot of high end talent then see a drop off with their third and fourth lines and so far through three contests the Wild haven’t been able to muster a victory and will look to break the goose egg at home here tonight. Minnesota suffered a tough break in their loss to the Preds as starting goaltender Niklas Backstrom went down with a knee injury and Josh Harding had to take over who despite allowing a penalty shot goal on his first play of the game was perfect from there on out. Unfortunately for the Wild they were down three goals at that point and were unable to complete the comeback leading to their third straight loss. However, Harding will get the nod here and give the Wild a great shot to win this contest and assert himself as the starter moving forward. I actually like the road team in this spot as I think they’re a better club with more game changers but Harding always seems to get the best of his teammates and I think it could be very close. As such I’m taking the under as I think both teams play this one very tight and the goaltenders determine who gets the two points.