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

The Minnesota Wild came crashing back to reality in Game Four. After their five goal outburst in Game Three the Wild dropped Game Four 3-2. They’ll be facing elimination tonight as they travel to Texas to take on the Dallas Stars. The question now: is there anything to suggest that the Wild have a comeback in them? Minnesota’s interim head coach John Torchetti has a reputation as a ‘motivator’ and whatever he said to the team ‘in the room’ to prompt their Game Three comeback must have been profound.

But there’s increasing evidence that the Stars’ Game Three heroics was more of a case of a Dallas letdown than anything they did. The reality of the situation is that the Wild’s two best offensive players–Zach Parise and Thomas Vanek–are both out indefinitely. In their absence, they’ve been pitiful putting points on the board. Forget about the five goal outburst in Game Three–toss out that game and the Wild have scored 9 goals in their last 8 games. Don’t forget that Dallas had the best offense in hockey during the regular season and they’re still plenty potent even without Tyler Seguin in the lineup. He won’t play here and he’s doubtful for Sunday. No clue how bad he’s really hurt but clearly his ‘comeback’ was a bad move. To Minnesota’s credit, they’ve done a decent job playing defense against the Stars but no team can play nasty enough defense to compensate for an utter and complete lack of offense.

Not much to suggest that the Wild have an ‘ace’ up their sleeve. They’re 25-7-1 all time against the Stars in Dallas though 6-3 last three years. Including the playoffs, Dallas has won six of eight from Minnesota this year. With the exception of Seguin and forward Brett Richie they’re reasonably healthy. They’ll likely go back to goalie Annti Neimi tonight–Kari Lehtonen didn’t play badly but might still have a case of the yips after the Game Three meltdown. There’s nothing to suggest that the Stars were rattled by the loss in Minnesota–escaping with a split in a tough venue is not demoralizing. The Stars win tonight and advance.