The Minnesota Wild are .500 on the year, but they’ve been excellent at home with a record of 5-2-1. Their road struggles have held them back this year, but the Wild are as formidable as it gets in Minnesota. On Sunday, they host the Detroit Red Wings, a team that is notorious for their struggles on the road as well. As such, it seems reasonable to give the edge to the Minnesota Wild on Sunday with both teams playing mediocre, .500 hockey of late and the Wild holding a home ice advantage.
The Red Wings are still recovering from the loss of Hall of Fame defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom. In his absence, the Detroit Red Wings have allowed nearly three goals per game while posting a negative goal differential as the first full month of the season draws to a close. Leadership has come under question as the long-time captain of the Detroit Red Wings leaves a tremendous void along the blue line.
Adding more trouble to the Detroit Red Wings this week, Johan Franzen is out with a hip injury. On the road without one of their top scorers, the Red Wings face a tough challenge in the Wild. Further, as they age, they are unlikely to be the top team in the Western Conference that we have come to know them as.
The Minnesota Wild are on a roll at home, and new pieces Zach Parise and Ryan Suter have played reasonably well since signing as free agents. The Wild are a strong team, particularly at home, and their goaltending is solid. They should be able to handle business at home against an aging Red Wings team that struggles on the road, particularly as they travel without Franzen.
Minnesota Wild 3 – Detroit Red Wings 1