Better Team & Better Goalie Make Blues Our NHL Pick vs. Avalanche

Swinging Johnson

Friday, January 22, 2016 6:47 PM UTC

Friday, Jan. 22, 2016 6:47 PM UTC

Central division foes collide as the St. Louis Blues travel to the Mile High City to take on the Colorado Avalanche. Let’s peruse the NHL odds in this one and cash a ticket in our NHL picks.

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NHL Pick: Blues -109
Best Line Offered: at Heritage


St. Louis Blues (28-22 SU, -0.4 units)
The Blues are winners of five of their last six games and most recently claimed a 2-1 victory over Detroit as NHL odds road dogs of +105. The Blues trail only Chicago and Dallas in the Western Conference standings and have limited the opposition to just 1.8 goals per game in their five most recent victories. Goaltender Brian Elliot was largely responsible for the club’s win in Detroit stopping 29 of 30 shots while his team registered just 20 on the Red Wings’ Petr Mrazek. Nevertheless, of those 20 shots St. Louis lit the lamp on two courtesy of Ty Rattie and Dmitrij Jaskin, which was all they needed to secure the victory.

The Blues are hoping to see the return of their starting netminder Jake Allen who went down with a knee injury in the middle of the team’s 4-3 loss to the Ducks two weeks ago. Since that time St. Louis has been backboned by strong goaltending from backup Brian Elliot and reports are that Elliot will continue to tend the twine in Allen’s absence for at least another week.

However offense is where the concern should be for the Blues who have been outshot during their three-game winning streak 117-67. St. Louis has been solid defensively this season, allowing only 2.4 goals per game (10th) thanks to the stout goaltending efforts by both Allen and Elliot, yet they are looking for an offensive boost as they have managed just 2.5 goals per game ranking them 18th in the league.


Colorado Avalanche (24-24 SU, +2.3 units)
The Avs are the owners of a modest winning streak themselves copping identical 2-1 victories over the Jets and Sabres. Those who backed Colorado in their NHL picks on Wednesday night had to lay -145 as they played host to the lowly Buffalo Sabres. There was plenty of reason for the chalk-eaters to bite their fingernails as the game was knotted at one apiece until Francois Beauchemin tallied with just 31 seconds remaining. Beauchemin was also involved in the first score getting an assist on Alex Tanguays’ first goal in 26 games.

Colorado ranks 7th in the league in goals scored averaging 2.8 per game yet defensively they have not been nearly as successful allowing 2.7 goals per game which places them 27th amongst the 30 NHL teams. Their power play has been effective connecting on over 20 percent of their opportunities (8th) but their penalty killing unit has been middling at best extinguishing 80.1 percent of their opponents’ man-advantage chances.


Betting Analysis
These teams have met twice so far this season with the Avalanche coming out on top in both contests. On December 13th the teams battled in St. Louis and the Avs skated away with a 3-1 over the Blues. In their last meeting the Blues traveled to Denver on January 6th and were once again on the losing end of a 4-3 overtime decision.

Though the venue remains the same as their last tango earlier this month I see the Blues winning this road tilt. They own a far more balanced attack and having Brian Elliot between the pipes versus the hard luck Jake Allen, who was in net for both losses to the Avs, may be just the change they need with no disrespect to Allen. Sometimes certain teams simply give goaltenders problems and it becomes as mental as it is physical. I also look for St. Louis to take advantage of a woeful Colorado penalty killing unit when on the power play. Better goalie and team with the Blues and a better chance to cash in your NHL picks for Friday night.

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