Free NHL Pick: Blues To Draw First Blood On The Ice vs. Sharks

Dana Lane

Sunday, May 15, 2016 2:00 PM UTC

Sunday, May. 15, 2016 2:00 PM UTC

Join us as we break down the upcoming San Jose Sharks vs St. Louis Blues scheduled for Sunday evening, and profit from our expert capper's valuable insight & Free NHL Pick.

This will be an interesting series for no other reason than to find out which style is going to win out. The San Jose Sharks are probably the best skating team left in the playoffs while the Blues are the tightest checking with the goal of giving opponents very little room on the ice.

Game one is at the Scottstrade Center where the Blues haven't played as well as they have on the road. Ken Hitchcock's team is just 3-4 at home but 5-2 on the road including a game seven win at Dallas after failing to win the series on home ice. 

It's really amazing Hitchcock has been able to to do with all the injuries his club has had to overcome. The Blues hit the three quarters mark of the season having used 30 different skaters and three goaltenders.

The earliest blow came to Patrik Berglund who missed 40 games from October 8th-December 31st. His regular season numbers aren't all that impressive but Hitchcock has made the statement that Berglund has been the only one that has impressed his during the playoffs. High praise from a hard nosed, veteran coach. 

Steve Ott has played in just 21 games due to various injuries at different times in the season. Ott will never be a difference maker on the ice but, like Berglund, was a valuable depth guy.

More importantly, goaltenders Jake Allen and Brian Elliot seemed to trade off injuries down the stretch. Luckily they were never out at the same time. 

When healthy, we certainly can see a glimpse of what they would have been as six different Blue have 10 or more points in the postseason. 

I expect the St. Louis to start this series with an air of confidence as they know they have the size to neutralize San Jose. With four regular defensemen standing over 6-3 and 200 pounds the Blues will be much more equipped to handle the Sharks than Nashville were. 

The key match-up will be Paul Stastny against whomever his defensive assignment is. In round one he easily held Jonathan Toews in check while doing the same to Jamie Benn in round two. I'm sure Hitchcock would like to get him on Joe Thornton or Joe Pavelski as much as possible. Stastny will also have a huge advantage in the face-off circle as he will be matched up against Logan Couture most of the night. This is a complete mismatch but Couture is the best the Sharks have. Remember we always say that winning the battle of the circle is a major component to winning any series. 

Which brings me to the second biggest part and that's winning the battle of special where if you had to nit pick the Blues this has been the area where they have been less than average killing off only 79.5% of their opportunities. This has to get better against a Sharks power play that was one of the best in the regular season and is collecting at a rate of 31% in the playoffs. 

I would get on the Blues as one of my NHL picks now because it appears as if this line will keep creeping up. There are still some -130's out there on the NHL odds, but in other places money is pouring in on the Blues so shop wisely. 

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Free NHL Pick:  Blues -130
Best Line Offered:  at Bookmaker

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