NHL Hockey Betting:  Dallas Stars at Minnesota Wild&h=253&w=372&zc=1

In many ways, this series resembles the Washington/Philadelphia series. In both cases we’ve got an overwhelmingly dominant favorite that *should* have been in a position to sweep the series. In both cases, we’ve got teams all of a sudden doing something very well that has eluded them all year–in Philadelphia we’ve got Michal Neuvirth playing like a Vezina Trophy winner stopping 75 of 76 shots to steal two wins from the Capitals. In this series, we’ve got the Minnesota Wild all of a sudden scoring goals in bunches after a stretch where they couldn’t score to save their collective life. The Wild had a seven game losing streak dating back to the regular season which they broke with the Game Three win. During those seven games they scored a total of seven goals. Even more pitiful–four of those goals game in the first two games of the streak meaning that in the subsequent five games they scored a total of 3 goals.

Things got back to semi-normal in Game Five, won by the Stars 3-2. Still, the Wild won Games Four and Six by outscoring the highest scoring team in hockey. Even including the Game Five loss Minnesota has scored 12 goals in their last 3 games, or nearly twice as many as they scored in the previous seven. We all knew that defense and goaltending was the Stars’ biggest liability but is it so bad that they’ll hand this series over to Minnesota? Like Washington, this is a game they *have* to win. Another high scoring Wild win to set up a Game Seven in Dallas defies all sports logic–and there has to be *some* logic as a framework to the extreme chaos that otherwise exists.

Dallas has to play 60 minutes of good hockey and we know that they’re capable of doing so. They’ve done well bouncing back from bad defensive performances (14-6 after allowing 4+ goals) and are 8-4 in home loss revenge situations. The Stars weren’t a particularly good home team this year so the Xcel Energy Center isn’t the foreboding venue it has been in some years. Dallas wins to restore some sanity to the NHL postseason.