Free NHL Pick: Avalanche vs. Blues Game To Go Under 5 Goals

Dana Lane

Tuesday, March 29, 2016 1:00 PM GMT

The Colorado Avalanche will try to keep this a tight, physical, game in hopes of gaining ground on Minnesota despite the obvious difference in class against the St. Louis Blues.

With their devastating 4-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Saturday the Colorado Avalanche are in a must win situation the rest of the season starting tonight against the St. Louis Blues, who are in a battle for first place in the Central Division.  The Avs are currently three points behind the Wild for the last wild card spot in the West. 

The task will be an extremely difficult one with Colorado missing their top two scorers against a team that has not allowed a goal in 240 minutes good for four straight shutouts. Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene, who both have knee injuries, will be out for this one which leaves them without their two best Centermen and the NHL odds show this.  It would be similar to a football team losing their starting quarterback and and their backup.  You will see Colorado dumping the puck in the offensive zone more rather than trying to carry it in. 

The Blues are only the fourth team in the expansion ere to have recorded four straight shutouts and the first to have done it in eleven seasons. More impressive is who they're doing it against after shutting out the President's Trophy winning Washington Capitals, Saturday, the leagues second best offense behind Dallas.

Brian Elliot will get the start tonight but it doesn't seem to matter if it's Elliot or Jake Allen. Elliot posted his third shutout without breaking a sweat against Vancouver Friday.  The Canucks managed only 15 shots to make it a comfortable night in the Blues 4-0 victory. Allen was sharp against the Caps registering 32 saves in the victory.  

When you watch the Blues defensively it's very similar to a basketball team playing a trap with it resembling more of a soft trap.  They want to spread you out in the corners forcing you to make a bad pass.  You will see when the puck is being handled at the blue line in either corner the forward and defensemen will skate out to trap but staying in passing lanes.  The way the Caps tried to beat this was quick passing to the middle of the ice to Ovechkin.  If you're not a team that is crisp with your passes this overload can create offensive opportunities through poor passing. You must be a team that gets the puck up the ice quick and with both top centermen out for Colorado it's going to play right into the hands of the Blues trap tonight

From a trend perspective, Colorado has never been a good play when playing in back to back situations.  In their last 78 back to back games the Avalanche are 23-55 in the second game with the 'under' a spectacular 29-14-8. The Blues side is self explanatory lately but if we must the 'under' is 15-5-1 in the Blues last 21 games against teams with a winning record. 

We like the 'under' 5 tonight as our NHL pick because its difficult to imagine that Carl Soderberg is going to have much success on the top line.

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Free NHL Pick:  Blues Under 5 +107
Best Line Offered:  at Pinnacle

@DanaLaneSports