Minnesota Wild vs. Colorado Avalanche Preview and Picks


March 29

The top spot in the Central Division is up for grabs when the Colorado Avalanche host the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday night.

The Wild have gone on a 7-1-2 streak to move atop the standings; however, the Avs have been mounting a late-season charge, moving within one point of Minny for the division lead. Minnesota can’t afford to relinquish control of their playoff destiny, but thankfully they have a few notable trends working in their favor tonight.

Wild @ Avalanche Game Information

  • Location: Ball Arena | Denver, CO
  • Time: 10:00 pm ET | TV: TNT

The Wild have had a knack for capturing at least a point over the final few months. Since February 24, Minnesota has gone to overtime or a shootout in six of its 16 games. That’s not the only stat they have going for them.

Their defensive structure has been a hallmark of the Wild’s system for the past few years. Perennially, the Wild rank as one of the best defenses in the NHL, and that’s again the case this year. Minnesota has given up the second-fewest high-danger and third-fewest scoring chances.

They’ve tightened the reigns recently, hampering down on opponents’ opportunities. 

Across their past eight games, the Wild have limited their opponents to seven or fewer quality chances in five contests. Scoring opportunities have been nearly as hard to come by, with Minnesota allowing more than 24 in just three of eight. That structure is a prerequisite for knocking off the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Wild @ Avalanche Odds on FanDuel

  • Spread: Wild +1.5 (-184) | Avalanche -1.5 (+152)
  • Moneyline: Wild +132 | Avalanche -160
  • Total: Over 5.5 (-130) | Under 5.5 (+106)

Consistency has been an issue for the Avs. Colorado has alternated above and below-average performances over the last couple of weeks. That’s even more concerning when we correct for the strength of schedule, as five of the six teams they’ve faced are below .500.

Worse, those teams are running amok on them, with the Avs allowing at least ten high-danger chances in three of their previous fourNathan MacKinnon and company aren’t doing enough to offset those defensive woes, as they’ve posted a 50.6% high-danger rating over that stretch.

Wild @ Avalanche Picks

  • 60-minute draw +350 | Wild +132
  • Ryan Hartman Any Time Goal Scorer +320

Points mean so much this time of year, which could lead to a more reserved contest. Even though the Avalanche have played inconsistently, they should be up for this divisional showdown against the team they are chasing in the standings. Likewise, the Wild can’t afford to lose ground to the defending Cup Champs and would be happy to leave with at least a point. 

Still, we give the edge to Minnesota, who has had a knack for accumulating points lately. We like the Wild prevailing in overtime against the ineffective Avs. 

Ryan Hartman has been on a heater recently, recording goals in two straight among his five goals over his last ten games. Moreover, Hartman has registered three or more shots in seven of those ten games, contributing to his 52.7% scoring chance rating

At +250, we’re backing Hartman as an any-time goal scorer, helping Minny extend its points streak to six games.

Thumbnail photo via Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

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