The wild card race is on and tonight’s matchup between the Dallas Stars and the Minnesota Wild could have lasting implications. Both teams are desperately fighting to gain the upper hand in the race for the third spot in the Central Division although recently that fight hasn’t gone well for Minnesota as it’s fallen right out of a wildcard spot.
Bruce Boudreau called tonight’s game the kind of game you grow up playing in the driveway and he couldn’t be more right.
Every young kid dreams about scoring the game-winning goal in these big games but they’re also dreaming about high-scoring games which tonight has little chance of being.
Dallas and Minnesota are both teams who don’t score very much and give up little.
They rank 15th and 16th respectively in power play percentage while Dallas has one of the top-five best penalty kills. The Wild, on the other hand, are almost three percent worse and rank 19th in the league.
At even-strength, these are two of the best defensive teams in the league.
On any given night they utterly shut down the front of their net, keeping players to the outside and challenging teams to score on low-quality attempts.
Not to mention, Dallas will have a brick wall in net tonight. Ben Bishop hasn’t allowed a goal in three-plus games.
Offensively, at even-strength, these teams aren’t known for scoring goals. Both are bottom-10 in goals for per game and aren’t creating much in the offensive zone.
Dallas has been especially bad at creating offense where they rank bottom-five in many offensive categories. Minnesota isn’t much better but they do have a decent forecheck and they’ll need to have it going if they’re going to crack that Dallas defense.
Taking the under in tonight’s game is probably a good idea because this could very easily be a low-scoring game. It’s a four-point game tonight for these two teams and they’ll be fired up for this big test.
(Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)