NHL Hockey Betting:  New Jersey Devils at Minnesota Wild&h=253&w=372&zc=1

The New Jersey Devils have shown some improvement over the past couple of weeks and enter this game having won 2 straight and going 5-3-2 in their last ten games. They’re now out of the Metropolitan Division basement and could actually be back in the wild card picture if they can string together some wins. That being said, they’re running into a serious buzzsaw here as they take on the Minnesota Wild. The Wild have won four straight and are 8-1-1 in their last ten games. They’re also 14-4-0 on home ice this year while New Jersey is 8-12-6 away from home.

The Wild are coming off a big win on Sunday as they beat their divisional rivals the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center. They’ve got two days off before their next gmae against Arizona which begins a tough stretch where they face Anaheim, Nashville and St. Louis at home and play at Dallas. The Devils will return home after this game to play the Montreal Canadiens but the bigger game will be the following night as they play the Philadelphia Flyers–one of the teams they’re trying to run down in the Metropolitan Division.

New Jersey will start Cory Schneider and he’s trying to get back on form after a rough start to the season. Schneider is 13-14-7 with a 2.68 goals against average and a 0.910 save percentage. Minnesota has yet to confirm their goalie but the indication is that they’ll send workhorse Devan Dubnyk who just might be the frontrunner for the Vezina Trophy right now. At any rate, Dubnyk is having a monster season with a 23-7-3 record, a 1.79 goals against average and 0.940 save percentage with five shutouts. The Wild have been excellent in non-conference games (13-5 +7.8 units) and after a three game unbeaten streak where they’re 10-3 +6.7 units. The Devils are 8-11 against the Western Conference this year and are 6-14 -5.5 units against opponents with winning records.

Minnesota is just playing lights out hockey and they need to keep that up if they’re going to keep Chicago in their rear view mirror. The Devils won the only game between the teams this season and the Wild are 15-8 +5.6 units in revenge spots. The Devils may be playing better but they’re facing the best team in the West here.