Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook.
The Pittsburgh Penguins will face the Minnesota Wild for the second time this season. The Wild won that game 5-4 behind a Nick Bjugstad shootout goal.
The Penguins are in third place in the Metropolitan Division but would move into second with a win. The Wild are sitting in second place in the Central Division but could cement that spot with a victory. If the Wild lose, they could fall closer to third place in the Central.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are a top-ten team and have 90 points this season. They have only gone on one long winning streak this year but have one of the better records in the NHL.
The Penguins are led by four veterans: Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel, Kris Letang, and Evgeni Malkin. Crosby is 34, but he is having another strong season and has 70 points. Guentzel is an impressive scorer and has 34 goals, Letang is a top defenseman with 51 assists, and Malkin has been injured for most of the season but has 33 points in 31 games.
The Penguins have an underrated goaltender in Tristan Jarry. Jarry has the second-most wins in the NHL at 33, and a save percentage of .921.
The Penguins have lost three of their last four games and are coming off a 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers. They could turn a corner with a victory in this game but have a tough matchup in the Minnesota Wild.
The Minnesota Wild have been inconsistent since the NHL returned from postponement. They have gone on two winning streaks and one losing streak since the return and are amidst a seven-game winning streak.
The Wild do not have any big stars on their team. However, they have some talented players in Kirill Kaprizov, Mats Zuccarello, and Kevin Fiala. Kaprizov is an impressive passer and scorer and has 37 goals and 45 assists, Zuccarello is a great passer and has 48 assists, and Fiala is an impressive winger who backs up Kaprizov well.
I have to pick the Wild to win this game. They are really hot right now and on a seven-game winning streak. In addition, they are playing at home. All signs point to the wild pushing their winning streak to eight games.
Minnesota Wild beat Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2. Minnesota Wild cover, Under 6.5 goals.
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|Pittsburgh Penguins||Head-to-Head||Minnesota Wild|
|Mike Sullivan||Head Coach||Dean Evason|
|40-18-10 (3rd in Metropolitan Division)||Standing||41-20-4 (2nd in Central Division)|
|Sidney Crosby (70)||Points||Kirill Kaprizov (82)|
|Jake Guentzel (31)||Goals||Kirill Kaprizov (37)|
|Kris Letang (51)||Assists||Mats Zuccarello (48)|
|Brian Dumoulin (22)||+/-||Alex Goligoski (34)|
|Jake Guentzel (4.29)||Shots (Per Game)||Kirill Kaprizov (3.63)|
The Pittsburgh Penguins are the underdogs and facing a hot Minnesota Wild team. However, they can win this game if they slow down Kirill Kaprizov and overwhelm the Wild with shots.
Kirill Kaprizov is the premier player on the Wild. He can score, pass, and has only missed one game this year. Kaprizov also has a +/- of 20. Kaprizov needs to be priority #1 for the Penguins’ defensemen.
The Wild score a lot but also give up too many goals. This is mainly in part to mediocre goaltending. Cam Talbot is their primary netminder and often struggles. He has 27 wins but gives up a troubling 2.80 goals per game. Since Talbot often struggles, the Penguins should overwhelm him with shots. If they do, he will likely make a mistake and let the puck slip in the net.
The Minnesota Wild cannot be stopped right now but have a tough matchup in the Penguins. They need to focus on limiting the Penguins’ shots and avoiding penalties.
The Penguins’ have a knack for shooting the puck. They average 34.4 shots per game and 3.29 goals. The Wild have to limit their shots or force them to take bad shots.
The Wild are very good at getting penalized. They have 688 PIM, 228 more than the Penguins. They have to be smarter this game and avoid penalties. If they do, they will give the Penguins less chances to score.
Defenseman Kris Letang may be almost 35, but he is not slowing down much. The 2005 third-round pick leads his team in TOI at 25:39.
Letang is still a starter and a huge part of the Penguins’ offense and defense. He helps to limit opposing teams scoring and always makes the right pass. He leads the Penguins in assists with 51.
The Wild have to cut off his passing lanes and force him to give up the puck to the other defenseman.
Winger Mats Zuccarello is not much of a scorer. However, he does complement Kirill Kaprizov quite well. Zuccarello has 48 assists, and 19 of them have come on power-plays.
Zuccarello is not a scoring threat (he only has 19 goals), but he is a playmaker. He often hits Kirill Kaprizov with the right pass and gives him good chances to score.
Kaprizov is usually already in an excellent position to score when he gets the puck, so the Penguins should try to stop Zuccarello from making the pass to him.
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|Pittsburgh Penguins vs Minnesota Wild Information|
|What||Pittsburgh Penguins vs Minnesota Wild|
|Where||Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul, Minnesota|
|When||Thursday, March 31, 8:00 PM EST|
|How to Watch||ESPN+|
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Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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