The Wild have finished with the best season in franchise history with 49 wins and 106 points. The season included a 12 game winning streak. On the other side, the Blues had a rocky start to the season, even finding themselves out of the picture at one point. Once Hitchcock was fired and Yeo took over, they surged into the top 3 in the Central.
The biggest story lines for the Wild was the resurgence of Eric Staal and the play of Devan Dubnyk between the pipes. Staal, after a 37 point season with Carolina and the Rangers, his lowest total since his rookie season, he has notched 28 goals and 37 assists, adding up to 65 points. Dubnyk, a goaltender who was a fringe starter at best during his time in Edmonton, has had another terrific season with the Wild, solidifying him as an elite netminder. St. Louis was affected by the losses of David Backes, Troy Brouwer, and Brian Elliott early, but Mike Yeo has turned this team around. As the former coach of the Wild, he will want revenge, whether he admits it or not.
Going by the numbers, The Wild have the Blues beat. Going by the goaltending, the Wild have an average goal advantage of .43. According to shooting percentage, the Blues only have an advantage of .06. While Mike Yeo would like his vengeance, the Wild have a deeper team.
I will be interested to see how Boudreau handles these playoffs. While he is maybe the greatest regular season coach, it’s no secret he has struggled in the postseason. He’s led the Ducks to 4 straight division titles, but lost 3-2 series leads in each of those seasons. As the coach in Washington, he could not even get past the second round, although that trend continues for the Caps. I will pick the Wild to win in 6 games, though.