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1* Minnesota (7:35 ET): Though only 4th in their own division (Central), I actually have the Wild rated as the top team in the Western Conference right now. After concluding a three-game trek though Western Canada w/ a 2-1 win over Edmonton on Sunday, I believe the team has been severely mispriced as they get set to hit the other end of the country
Ironically, Toronto also just concluded a three-game trip through Western Canada. Like the Wild, they beat Edmonton, but lost to Vancouver and Calgary. Unlike the Wild, the Leafs' trip started in Edmonton and worked its way West. Though 10-9-5 overall, Toronto still finds itself in last place in the division as the Atlantic is shaping up to be quite challenging this year. While they've been far better at home than on the road, the Leafs still don't deserve to be the ML favorites in this matchup. They are just 5-11 SU playing w/ three days rest by the way. They are 28th in goals allowed plus were shutout in Calgary last week. The goaltending they'll face here is far stiffer.
What I like about Minnesota is the fact they are 2nd in the league in goals allowed and first in save percentage. Paced by Devan Dubnyk (league leader at .948), the Wild have outscored opponents so far by 15 goals. Dubnyk already has four shutouts and his GAA is 1.63. It's a massive edge for him over Toronto's Frederik Andersen. The Wild have won all five meetings with the Maple Leafs the last three seasons, including a 3-2 home win back in October. Great value here on the better team. 1* Minnesota