The St. Louis Blues hold a slight one-point lead in the Central Division and with a win on Thursday and a loss by Nashville, they could secure the top spot. However, they struggle against the Chicago Blackhawks and a loss by the Blues could put them in jeopardy of dropping to third.
The Chicago Blackhawks Can Win Because…
They have the Blues number. Although the teams have split the four meetings this season, the Blackhawks had actually won six straight in this series including the playoffs. The issue in recent memory has always been the same: the Blackhawks can match the Blues at the defensive end but St. Louis simply doesn’t have enough offense to keep up.
The Blues have faded down the stretch of the season, evidenced by a 1-0 home loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday. With that loss, they are now just 4-6 in their last 10 games. The main issue seems to be offense as the Blues have tallied just 25 goals in their last 10 games. However, it’s worth noting that 11 of those goals came in two wins, so only have 14 goals in their other eight games.
Chicago has lost back-to-back games but they’ve been fairly solid of this recent stretch. They had won four straight before that and have been fairly competent down the stretch of the season. And even though they’re on the road in this one, that shouldn’t be a huge deterrent. They’ve won six of the last eight away games and have also won their last visit to St. Louis too.
The St. Louis Blues Can Win Because…
They know just how important this game is. The Blues haven’t fared well against the Blackhawks in recent postseasons and they’d rather avoid them altogether. However, if they happen to face them, they’d rather have home-ice advantage as it will give them what could be the deciding edge.
The Blues have been a very strong home team this season as they’ve won 25 of their 39 games there. And while the Blackhawks do seem like they might provide a tough test, the truth is that Chicago has not played well against teams above .500 recently. Although on the season they are still well above .500, they are just 8-8 in their last 16 against winning teams.
The Blackhawks are just 20th in goals scored this month at just 2.25 goals per game. Look for the Blues defense to be able to impose their will and get the job done here.
The trouble with betting Chicago is that you often get burned on them, laying juice and having it cost due to their inconsistent ways. Case and point: they’ve cost you some juice during this two-game losing streak, falling to Minnesota and St. Louis on their home ice. However, in this spot, the Blackhawks are a road dog according to the NHL betting odds. Considering they play pretty well against St. Louis and they just lost to them last week, I’d expect a strong effort from the Blackhawks here to try and bounce back, so I'll add them to my NHL picks.
NHL Pick: Blackhawks at 5Dimes