The Minnesota Wild entered game one of their opening-round playoff series with the Dallas Stars as the underdog in what was expected to be a tight, close series. Game one proved to be just that, with the game going to double overtime before Ryan Hartman scored the game-winning goal to give Minnesota the 1-0 series lead and with it become the slight favorites in the series with their post-game one price-moving to -130 on DraftKings Sportsbook. Superstar Kirill Kaprizov and depth forward Sam Steel had the other goals for the team.
There's no doubt the Minnesota Wild will be popular among Minnesota sports betting circles once it becomes legal in the State.
Wild Still Needs To Improve After Win
No one can deny that Minnesota got outplayed in game one, but as is often the case in the playoff overtime a few timely saves combined with a fortunate bounce was enough to give Minnesota the win. Dallas outshot Minnesota 53-48, carrying play throughout most overtimes. Shortly before the Hartman winner Dallas forward Mason Marchment had a wide-open net, but rookie Wild defenseman Brock Faber was able to fling his stick across in the nick of time to deflect the puck over the net. A couple of minutes later a puck bounced in front of the net onto Hartman’s stick and he lifted it over the pad of Dallas goalie Jake Oettinger who matched Minnesota’s Filip Gustavsson save for save all night long in a two-way goaltending clinic.
Dallas Stars Remain Favored For Game 2
The Stars are once again favored to win game two, with DraftKings setting a line of -150 in their direction. Dallas is once again on home ice and if they play the way they did in game one they will once again have a good chance to win, but no matter how the game goes the Wild have wrestled home ice advantage away from the higher-seeded Stars, which is always the goal for any team opening the series on the road.
Minnesota’s win in game one becomes even more impressive when you consider the players missing from their lineup, as top center Joel Eriksson Ek and trade deadline pickup John Klingberg were both missing game one. While the statuses of both players are yet to be confirmed, they are both trending towards playing in game two, which would be a massive boost to the lineup. Injuries could play a role for both teams as Joe Pavelski’s status for Dallas is still unclear after taking a big hit from Matt Dumba in the second period.
Goaltending Is Key To Wild Advancing
Gustavsson’s performance in net was the most important factor in the win, the team had split games pretty evenly between him and Marc-Andre Fleury in the regular season, and seeing him bring his regular-season form into his first playoff start was a huge sign for optimism. He let in a couple of questionable powerplay goals early in the second but settled down and was perfect afterward. Head Coach Dean Evason has already said that fatigue from the long overtime game wouldn’t play a role in his decision for who to start in game two, so expect Gustavsson to go again.
After spending the year challenging for the Central Division title all season long, Minnesota fans certainly expect this year's team to finally advance to the second round despite the tough draw in the opening round. After game one the template is now clear for how they must play to beat the Stars and with some key pieces potentially on the way back they are justifiably the series favorites and control their own destiny in the opening round of the playoffs.
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