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

The Minnesota Wild desperately need to get some offense going in their opening round series against the Dallas Stars. Dallas had no trouble with Minnesota in the first game, winning 4-0. Game 2 is set for Saturday night in Dallas and a loss here by the Wild would make it 7 in a row dating back to the regular season. Minnesota was cruising as they made their late push for the playoffs but that was before leading scorer Zach Parise and Thomas Vanek suffered injuries. The Wild have scored only six goals in six games–all losses–since then. They do get some good news for tonight’s game–forward Erik Haula is expected to play after missing the first game of the series. Haula has been the team’s leading scorer since interim coach John Torchetti took over with 21 points in 27 games.

Dallas has no trouble scoring goals and they finished the regular season with the #1 goals per game average in hockey (3.23). Minnesota was a mediocre at best #18 (2.60) goals per game on the year but most of that was with Vanek and Parise in the lineup. The Wild doesn’t do anything particularly well–they’ve got a solid #9 scoring defense but are 18th in goals per game, #15 on the power play and #27 on the penalty kill. Dallas doesn’t have a particularly good goals against average (#19 in the league) but are solid otherwise with the #10 penalty kill (82.3%), #4 power play (22.1%) and #1 goals per game. The Stars are expected to start goaltender Kari Lehtonen for the second straight game while the Wild will once again roll the dice with Devan Dubnyk.

Just a brutal matchup for Minnesota at this point. They may have been feeling the fatigue of a second half playoff push before the Vanek and Parise injuries. Now they have to try and stop the best offense in hockey while they suffer through a goal scoring slump. You’re not going to beat any NHL team averaging just a goal a game like the Wild have in their last six–and you’re definitely not going to beat the highest scoring team in hockey. Even the Wild’s body language looks like that of a beaten team. Dallas makes it 2-0 heading back to Minnesota.