The Blues are fighting for a postseason berth while the Wild are trying to jockey to the top of the standings in the West Division. These divisional rivals will clash on Wednesday night and below we will handicap this matchup with an eye towards cashing our NHL picks.
St. Louis Blues vs. Minnesota Wild
Wednesday, April 28, 2021 – 07:00 PM EDT at Xcel Energy Center
St. Louis is definitely not signing the blues after taking two straight from the Colorado Avalanche and nudging their way into the fourth playoff spot in the West Division. But their grasp on the final position is tenuous at best, as the Arizona Coyotes are only a point behind while the team occupying the No. 3 seed, and their hosts on Wednesday night, is too far out of reach to catch over their remaining 10 games.
After defeating the Avalanche, 5-3, on Saturday the Blues were back at it again on Monday night when they defied the NHL odds and pulled their second consecutive upset over Colorado as a home dog.
Vladimir Tarasenko kicked things off midway through the first period connecting on a power-play opportunity for his fourth of the season. Just over a minute later, Brayden Schenn put St. Louis up by two with assists from David Perron and Ryan O'Reilly.
Perron would follow his assist up with a goal of his own before Robert Thomas capped the scoring in the second period. A scoreless third period insured the Blues’ 4-1 victory as a +150-home pup according to sportsbooks.
Wild-Fire in Minnesota
Minnesota has strung together a seven-game winning streak at exactly the right time and is trying to nudge the Avalanche out of second place in the West while eagerly eyeing the Vegas Golden Knights’ seat at the top of the divisional heap. During this streak, the Wild has averaged 4.57 goals per game while allowing exactly two goals per game. Of the seven victories, only one was decided by a goal and all were won in regulation.
In their last effort, Minnesota skated into San Jose and skated out with a 6-3 victory, clinching a playoff spot in the process. The Wild tallied three times in the opening period and got goals from six different shooters, including Kirill Kaprizov, who lit the lamp for the fifth consecutive game.
“We’re still chasing the top teams,” said veteran winger, Marcus Foligno, after the game. “That's probably the biggest thing right now. Yes, we did make the playoffs, which was a huge objective of ours at the start of the season. But hopefully, we can get higher and catch a team or two. There’s still work to be done.”
Minnesota goaltender, Kaapo Kahkonen, turned aside 27 of 30 shots with all three goals coming in the final frame. The Wild went 4-0 on their West Coast road trip and Kahkonen picked up his second straight win since surrendering a whopping nine goals in Minnesota’s 9-1 loss to the Blues back on April 9th.
Wanna Make a Bet?
The Blues have won two of three over the Wild this season with Minnesota claiming a 2-0 victory in their first meeting while St. Louis took the last pair, 9-1 and 3-2 (OT). The one common denominator is the home team won all three games and the venue for Wednesday night’s clash is St. Paul, Minnesota.
We should also consider that Minnesota will have the services of two important offensive pieces that were missing in their last game against the Blues, wingers Kevin Fiala and Marcus Foligno. Moreover, Cam Talbot will likely get the starting assignment ahead of platoonmate, Kaapo Kahkonen, who could still be suffering flashbacks from his poor performance the last time he faced St. Louis. Talbot has entrenched himself as the starting netminder over the past month, getting 10 starts versus only three for Kahkonen, and is 1-0-1 with a 1.50 goals-against average in his two games against the Blues this season.
Despite the Blues’ two-game sweep over the Avs, I am far more impressed with Minnesota’s seven-game run, particularly when we consider four of those wins came on the road. Minnesota is simply better from top to bottom and although these teams will be seeing each other five times between now and the end of the season to make up for previously postponed games, I like Minnesota to keep their streak alive at an early price at betting sites that is palatable enough to lay.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.