Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (29) makes a save against Columbus Blue Jackets center Emil Bemstrom (52)

The Minnesota Wild can exploit a huge advantage between the pipes tonight

March 26, 2022

Blue Jackets at Wild 

Xcel Energy Center – St. Paul, MN 
8:00 PM ET 
Minnesota -260 

The Wild are going all in to make a run at the Stanley Cup. Tonight, Minnesota gets to see the initial results of their biggest move.

On Monday, the team acquired Marc-Andre Fleury at the trade deadline. Adding the reigning Vezina Trophy winner is an “all-in” move by the organization.

The goaltender will make his Wild debut tonight, at home against the Blue Jackets. It’ll be an electric atmosphere at the Xcel Center, as the Minnesota faithful know that the trade was made in an attempt to win a Cup this season.

It’ll be a buzzsaw for Columbus to walk into. They’re playing out the season, languishing one spot, but 14 points, out of the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. They’ll face a team with a renewed energy and the playoffs on the horizon.

But it’s not just Fleury that is trouble for the Blue Jackets. The Wild were playing well even before the trade.

Minnesota has won four straight games, the longest current streak in the NHL. And in their last four home games, where they’ve also gone 4-0, they’ve outscored opponents 13-5.

Columbus has numbers going the opposite direction. They’ve lost three of their last four games, surrendering 20 goals in the process. The Blue Jackets biggest issue is between the pipes.

Joonas Korpisalo is out for the season with a hip injury. Elvis Merzlikins is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. And Daniil Tarasov is done for the year, as well. That leaves Jean-Francois Berube in net, where he’s surrendered 13 goals in his four games this season.

It’s a mismatch on the ice, between two teams going in opposite directions. And the discrepancy in goal is even more apparent, with the Wild debuting their big-ticket acquisition and the Blue Jackets playing someone from way, way down the depth chart.

Add it up and it’s an easy riddle to solve. Minnesota wins big tonight.

Norm LaChatlier’s picks:

Minnesota -1.5 (+100)

Saturday’s NHL Quick Picks

San Jose M/L (-140)

Vegas M/L (-190)

Friday’s NHL Winners

Calgary -1.5 (-145)