The Minnesota Wild (22-10-3) visit the Chicago Blackhawks (15-18-6) at United Center on Friday in their first meeting of the season. The Wild are 3-1 in their last four games while the Blackhawks carry a five-game point streak (4-0-1) into the contest. Both teams have been hot, so who’s got the upper hand in the matchup? Let’s dive into our Wild vs Blackhawks prediction.
Wild vs Blackhawks Odds & Analysis
The Wild opened as just a slight favorite over the Blackhawks, getting -129 on the moneyline. The total opened at 5.5 goals with the OVER going 4-2 in Minnesota’s last six outings and 4-1 in Chicago’s last five contests. Chicago has also enjoyed success against Minnesota over the last 10 meetings with a 6-2-2 record, which may factor into any Wild vs Blackhawks prediction.
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Wild Look To Rebound After Recent Skid
The Wild fell 4-3 to the Colorado Avalanche in a shootout in their last outing on Monday. Kirill Kaprizov scored two goals and Mats Zuccarello had two assists to lead Minnesota in scoring, while Kaapo Kahkonen made 35 stops in the loss.
Minnesota was atop the Central Division as recently as mid-December but has gone 3-4-2 in its last nine games on the heels of an eight-game win streak. There have been positive signs lately as the Wild have picked up three victories in their last four games – including a 7-3 drubbing of the Anaheim Ducks last Friday – but they’ve tumbled to fourth place in the Central, 10 points back of the division-leading Avalanche.
Cam Talbot (lower body) is questionable while Joel Eriksson Ek (COVID-19 protocol) is probable.
Blackhawks Ride Five-Game Point Streak Into Friday
The Blackhawks lost to the Seattle Kraken on Monday, falling 3-2 in the shootout to snap their four-game winning streak. Dominik Kubalik tallied a goal and a helper to lead Chicago while Marc-Andre Fleury made 35 saves on 37 shots.
Chicago is playing arguably its best hockey of the season right now as it carries a five-game point streak (4-0-1) into Friday’s contest. A huge part of that success has been Fleury, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner who was recently named the NHL’s second star of the week after going 3-0-0 with a .957 save percentage and a shutout from January 11-15.
Seth Jones (COVID-19 protocol) is probable, Dylan Strome (conditioning) is questionable and Brett Connolly (COVID-19 protocol) is out.
Wild vs Blackhawks Pick & Insights
Wild: Keys To Victory
Kaprizov is up to 44 points on the season in just 34 games and has 6-6-12 over his current six-game point streak. The Russian winger has helped power the Wild to 3.66 goals per game, the third-best mark in the NHL. While Fleury has been excellent for Chicago lately, the Blackhawks defense has been porous this season, allowing 3.21 goals against per game (22nd). With that in mind, we could see another offensive outburst from the high-flying Wild.
Blackhawks: Keys To Victory
Fleury has been one of the best goalies in the league over the past few weeks and, as we’ve seen, is capable of stealing a game on any given night. The Blackhawks have been racking up wins recently and that confidence could carry them to another victory against the Wild, whom they have historically been good against.
Odds Shark’s Computer Wild vs Blackhawks Prediction: Blackhawks ML (+125)
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