NHL Picks: Several Ways To Bet On Stars vs. Blues Matchup Tonight

Friday, April 29, 2016 7:07 PM GMT

Will time off be a positive for the Dallas Stars or will the Blues beat them for the fifth time in six games? We breakdown this game and find where the best NHL pick lies. 

St. Louis Blues vs. Dallas Stars
Let's try to figure out if there's going to be an exhale factor in this one. The first game of a series are typically the toughest to figure out because we can't quantify a teams mindset but it's reasonable to think that the St. Louis Blues may be a bit relieved to have the first round monkey off their back after being eliminated in the opening round three seasons straight. The fact that it was against the Chicago Blackhawks was probably just a little more gratifying. So the question remains what do they have left for game one against a well rested Stars team.

For the Stars the defensemen are the most important position on the ice due to the Blues strong forecheck. St. Louis likes to use it to create offense from sloppy passes. When you're watching make note of the first pass up the ice from Alex Goligoski, Kris Russell and John Klingberg who are the Stars top defensemen. If that pass connects then you have a rush but if they are having problems moving it out of their zone then you know the Blues have the advantage. The first three passes out of a defensive zone are the key to knowing who is dictating pace. In addition, watch to see if those passes pass through three zones that's when you really know which team has the advantage.

To the goaltenders, a few weeks ago the comparison between Brian Elliot and Kari Lehtonen would have been a no-brainer but the recent play of both has at least closed the gap a little. Certainly it's easier to have better numbers against the Minnesota Wild than the Chicago Blackhawks but still you can't completely discount the confidence factor. The Blues victory has overshadowed the numbers that Brian Elliot has put up in his last three games going 1-2 with a 3.27 goals against average and a .893 save percentage. Nothing about that line makes me want to jump on Elliot as my NHL picks until I know his head is where we expect it to be. Lehtonen has not played in five days and should be well rested, of course, we never know if that's a good thing which is why the first game is the toughest to handicap. He has posted an impressive 2.27 goals against average in the playoffs.

Betting Analysis
I anticipate a wide open game one because normally the focus would be for Dallas to limit the room that Vladimir Tarasenko has to hinder his offensive production but I'm not sure Dallas is equipped to stop Tarasenko because they are not a heavy team that will wear down opposing superstars. This looks like a game that has great potential to be an 'over' on the NHL odds because both teams are offensive oriented but because of the Stars long layoff or the Blues trying to regain their legs this looks like a game of mistake which lead to goals. @DanaLaneSports

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Free NHL Pick: Dallas 1st Period, Dallas Game -105, and 'over' 5 -125
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline