Strong Defenses Make for Easy 'Under' Play in Wild-Blues Matchup

Dana Lane

Tuesday, February 6, 2018 2:59 PM UTC

Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018 2:59 PM UTC

The Wild and Blues usually play low-scoring games against each other, with the "under" cashing in six of their past eight meetings. Tuesday's battle in St. Louis should be no different.

[/]{"component":"video", "type":"youtube", "url":"", "videoSize":"Large" }[/]Tuesday NHL: Wild vs. BluesFree NHL Pick: Under 5.5 -140Best Line Offered: Bookmaker

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The Minnesota Wild had to be feeling pretty good about themselves after their 5-2 victory over Vegas on Friday. They are one of the few teams to easily handle the Golden Knights, but how much can we really take from that victory? After all, the Knights were playing their second of a back-to-back after escaping a physical battle with Winnipeg. The Wild fell back to who they truly are the next night, losing 6-1 to Dallas.

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📹 @thelnino22 & Ennis went to #SBLII, but the real news of the day is Marcus Foligno's — @JTimberlake’s #1 fan — recap of the halftime show.

— Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) February 5, 2018

Recently, the Wild have not been a reliable "over" team, with six of their last 10 cashing "under" tickets. They are ranked 16th in goals per game and now face the St. Louis Blues, who are even worse at 2.78 GPG (21st). The Wild are six points in back of the Blues for the third spot in the Central Division, and Coach Bruce Boudreau knows they can only close the gap by better defensive play. In order for the Wild to stay in this one, their effort must resemble their last meeting, which they won 2-1. In that game there were plenty of scoring chances, helped by eight total power plays. This is not a typical amount of extra-man chances so if they cut down on those it’s reasonable to assume this will be another low-scoring affair.

The St. Louis media is starting to talk about some movement to make the team stronger as the Feb. 26 trade deadline approaches. I think highly of the Blues but there seems to be something missing as of late. There is tentativeness when in the offensive zone; perhaps they’re squeezing their sticks too tight waiting for the perfect scoring chance to present itself. Seven of their last 10 games have resulted in an "under," mostly because they’ve averaged just 2.6 goals in those games along with exceptional defensive play, allowing just 2.3 goals per game and only 12 in their last eight. Defense and solid goaltending guided them to a 6-4 mark in those games even though they’re still trying to find the offensive magic they had early in the year.

Carter Hutton will likely get the start in net for the Blues. When you have a guy who brings 1.61 goals-against average and a .947 save percentage into the equation it’s difficult to look at any side other than the "under." Devan Dubnyk (20-10-3) is probable to start for the Wild. Dubnyk might not be as reliable as he was last season but since Nov. 25, when he allowed six goals to the Blues, he has been sensational.

Check the NHL odds board and you'll see that this is an easy choice for your NHL picks: Jump on the "under."

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