The Minnesota Wild (53-22-7) will have the home ice advantage in the first round against the St. Louis Blues (49-22-11) in a battle of Central Division rivals. St. Louis swept the season series 3-0-0 with two of the wins coming in overtime.
Blues vs. Wild odds (DraftKings Sportsbook)
The Pick: Minnesota (-150)
This should be the best series of the first round. The two games these teams played in April were overtime classics. Even though the Blues swept the season series, two of the wins were during 3-on-3 overtime and the third was outdoors in negative temperatures at Target Field on New Year’s Day. Focusing on the two games in April, the Wild blew a 3-1 third-period lead at St. Louis before losing 4-3 in overtime. A week later Minnesota scored four third-period goals to rally from a 4-1 deficit before losing 6-5 in overtime.
Minnesota has a tough decision to make at goalie. The Wild acquired Marc-Andre Fleury at the trade deadline for this moment. Fleury, the 2021 Vezina Trophy winner, has been solid, going 9-2-0 with a .910 save percentage and 2.74 goals against average since joining the Wild, but his presence in the locker room has lit a fire under Cam Talbot. Talbot has not lost in regulation since March 6, going 12-0-3 in his final 15 starts.
Both teams have a lot of guys that can put the puck in the net. St. Louis is one of the most balanced scoring teams in the league The Blues have nine players with 20+ goals this season. The top line of Vladimir Tarasenko (34 G, 48 A), Robert Thomas (20 G, 57 A) and Pavel Buchnevich (30 G, 46 A) has been on fire since the All-Star break. Minnesota has Kirill Kaprizov (47 G, 61 A), the 2021 Calder Trophy winner and a future Hart Trophy winner. The 24-year-old Kaprizov is an emerging star and wants to show he can perform at an elite level on the biggest stage. He is supported by 30-goal scorers Kevin Fiala and Ryan Hartman.
Expect this one to go the full seven and Fleury has another great playoff performance on home ice to send the Wild to the second round for the first time since 2015.
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL/IN/MI/NJ/PA/WV/WY), 1-800-NEXT STEP (AZ), 1-800-522-4700 (CO/NH), 888-789-7777/visit ccpg.org/chat (CT), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), 1-877-770-STOP (7867) (LA), 877-8-HOPENY/text HOPENY (467369) (NY), visit OPGR.org (OR), call/text TN REDLINE 1-800-889-9789 (TN), or 1-888-532-3500 (VA).21+ (18+ NH/WY). Physically present in AZ/CO/CT/IL/IN/IA/LA/MI/NH/NJ/NY/OR/PA/TN/VA/WV/WY only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions.