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Minnesota Wild Pushing Chips in for Playoff Run

In Hockey’s lockout-shortened season, there’s a feeling in the NHL that just about any team can win the Stanley Cup. The Minnesota Wild, one of the most success-starved franchises in the NHL, is poised to make its first playoff run in a decade, and made a bold move at the trade deadline to bolster their roster.

At the trade deadline, the Wild traded two top prospects and a couple of high picks to get the Buffalo Sabre’s Jason Pominville, a valuable two-way player who is a six-time 20-goal scorer. He should add an immediate boost to the lineup for a team that’s currently seeded third in their conference.

“We played really well together. I like the way he plays. I think he’s going to help us a lot,” the Wild’s Zach Parise said of his new teammate. “He works hard. I just think you look at the way he’s been used. Power play, penalty kill, reliable. He puts pucks in the net, he makes plays, he gets points. I think he plays a really all-around game. That’s what we’re going to see.”

“Players like Jason aren’t readily available, and that’s why we paid a significant price in terms of assets in acquiring him,” Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher said. “Obviously, Buffalo felt they needed to move in a different direction, and when I spoke to Darcy and found out he might be available we were aggressive in our pursuit.”

However, despite the splashy moves, the Wild have been unsuccessful this week, losing 4-2 to the underdog St. Louis Blues on Monday and dropping another game last night to the San Jose Sharks 4-2. The Wild were -121 money line favorites against the Blues. Most crucially, the Wild have five power play opportunities in the game and zero power play goals. If they want to play consistent, playoff-caliber hockey, they simply must start converting in favorable situations.

Here were some other betting trends for both teams heading into Monday’s match, courtesy of OddsShark.com:

St. Louis Blues Trends:
When playing on Monday are 1-9
Before playing Tampa Bay are 3-7
After playing Los Angeles are 5-5
After a loss are 6-4

Minnesota Wild Trends:
When playing on Monday are 4-6
Before playing Florida are 3-3-2
After playing Los Angeles are 6-4
After a win are 7-3

A few Blues at Wild trends to consider:
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of St. Louis’ last 7 games
St. Louis is 3-6 SU in its last 9 games on the road
St. Louis is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games
St. Louis is 1-6 SU in its last 7 games when playing on the road against Minnesota
Minnesota is 8-1 SU in its last 9 games
Minnesota is 8-1 SU in its last 9 games at home
Minnesota is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games when playing at home against St. Louis
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Minnesota’s last 6 games

In Wednesday’s loss to the Sharks, it was more of the same for the Wild, who again had five power play opportunities. They did score two goals, but it wasn’t enough to propel them to a win. The Wild know they have to get back to fundamentals if they want to make a serious push for the Cup this summer.

“It’s been tough for a couple of games now,” Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom said. “We have a system that works. We have to get back to the details and doing the right thing. We have to be better with the puck and get a chance to play more in their end.”

All in all, the Wild have shown this season that they’re committed to winning. Now they just have to skate onto the ice and actually do it.

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