Minnesota Wild (20-11-5) at Pittsburgh Penguins (24-10-1)
|Date & Time||Thursday December 19, 2013, 7:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Pittsburgh Penguins -173 / Minnesota Wild +157 --- Over/Under: 5
The Wild take their defensive game into Pittsburgh looking to slow down Sidney Crosby and the Penguins in what should be a great game at the Consol Energy Center.
The Wild have won back to back contests and are right in the mix in the competitive Central division and they’ll look to climb the ladder with a victory over the high powered Penguins on Thursday night. Minnesota is built from the crease out led by Vezina contender Josh Harding who is having a remarkable season between the pipes and his play gives Ryan Suter and the defense a ton of confidence in front of him. Minnesota does have some bangers up front who can score the puck led by Zach Parise who is fitting in nicely in his second season with the team and his presence at both ends of the rink is a huge momentum swinger. The Wild are stronger at home than on the road as they’re just 6-8-3 away from the Xcel Energy Center and they’ll have to play their best if they want to end the Penguins’ five game winning streak.
The Pens are coasting atop the Metropolitan division as they hold a 12 point edge on second place Washington and they sit atop the Eastern Conference with a slight edge over the Boston Bruins. Pittsburgh will be looking for their sixth win in a row and their 16th win at home in what should be an exciting game between two teams with very different philosophies and skillsets. The Penguins are massive favourites here which is justified based on their record at home and with how well they’ve been playing of late but these teams are only six points different in the standings and I think the Wild are actually a solid play here especially if Evgeni Malkin remains out of the lineup. Either way I think taking Minnesota to keep it close is the best play here and a sprinkle on the money line would be well worth the investment.