Anyone that watched Game 1 of the Minnesota Wild’s series with the Dallas Stars and thought they knew what they would be in for in Game 2 was left bewildered less than two periods into the second game.
A frantic second period had the teams combine for six goals, cashing the over for bettors and bringing the score to 6-3 for Dallas with 20 minutes still to play. A singular third period tally brought the final score to 7-3, with the 10 total goals doubling the total from Game 1’s 3-2 double overtime score. While there is no Minnesota sports betting, this one would have been a dozy for those with skin in the game.
Things were different in this game from the outset, as Marc-Andre Fleury was given the start despite Filip Gustavsson’s heroic performance in the first game when he set a franchise record with a 51-save win.
Coach Dean Evason hinted after the game that his heavy workload wouldn’t play a role in the Game 2 goalie decision, but gave the start to Fleury regardless, keeping the Wild in the rhythm of rotating their goalies, something they had done for 14 straight games to end the regular season.
Game 2 Analysis
It would be easy to look at the result and think Evason made a mistake going away from the hot Gustavsson, and he may well have, but the process that got him there was the same process that got the Wild into the playoffs. Now, Minnesota still comes home with the much desired road split to start the series, giving it home ice advantage in what has now become a best-of-five affair.
The early line in Game 3 from DraftKings Sportsbook is -115 in favor of the Stars, with home ice for Minnesota playing a role in the drop from the Game 2 opening line of -150. Minnesota remains a slight underdog, but for the first time in the series it is not plus money as it checks in at -105 to win the game. Expect DraftKings Minnesota Sportsbook to be among the early entrants in the market if and when Minnesota launches.
The goals came fast and furious in Game 2, especially in the second period where both teams had stretches of scoring twice in less than a minute. Special teams played a role, with three Dallas powerplay goals giving it five for the series already. Minnesota also used a powerplay goal to fuel its second-period surge. The secondary scoring for Minnesota was a huge boost as Freddy Gaudreau, Marcus Johansson and Oskar Sundqvist all scored for the Wild.
For a team that spent much of the season relying on either Kirill Kaprizov or Matthew Boldy to do its offensive damage, getting goals from its middle six forwards is a game-changer. Failing to take advantage of a game with three goals from that group has to feel like a bit of a missed opportunity.
The Stars offensive surge came from their biggest stars, as top line center Roope Hintz had a hat trick, elite defenseman Miro Heiskanen had four assists, and the powerplay once again operated at 50% efficiency. Tyler Seguin filled in perfectly for the injured Joe Pavelski and even scored a very Pavelski-like deflection goal on a first period man advantage.
The Plan To Close The Series Out
The game plan for Minnesota coming home is simple, albeit difficult to accomplish against a strong Stars squad.
Game 2 showed a high-octane offensive battle is not one the Wild have the edge in, so getting back to the tight-checking, disciplined gameplan from Game 1 is essential. Dallas’ power play has had success early in this series, and Minnesota gave it ample chances to cash in in Game 2. If the Wild continue to frequent the sin bin, Minnesota fans will be glad betting is not yet legal in the state or the pain of defeat would also stretch to their wallets.
Oddsmakers are also expecting a lower-scoring affair, with the total set at 5.5 and paying plus money at +115 for the total to go over.
A return to Gustavsson in net, continued secondary scoring and the boost that will come from an amped up home crowd should lead to a much closer Game 3, giving Minnesota a chance to reclaim its lead in the series.
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