An Absolute Classic Series Opener
The Blues will host the Blackhawks on Saturday at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri with the opening faceoff slated for 3:05 PM ET. This will be Game 2 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals best-of-7 series that’s led by the Blues 1-0. My projected NHL betting odds show the Blues as a -120 money line home favorite and the posted total is 5.5.
Blues Pass Initial Test in Classic
The St. Louis Blues captured the opening game of the series with a dramatic 4-3 win in triple overtime over the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. St. Louis was able to tie the game at 3-3 with just under 2-minutes to play in the 3rd period, and then saw Alexander Steen score the game winner in the first minute of the 3rd overtime period. After a shaky 1st period Blues goalie Ryan Miller was able to settle in, and shutout the Hawks for the final 4 plus periods of the contest. The Blues outshot the Hawks in the contest 52-42. The series opener also was just the 3rd time in their last 17 Western Conference Quarterfinal games that the Blues have gone over the total. Thursday’s win also enabled St. Louis to snap a mind boggling 6-game losing streak to finish the regular season.
Hawks Need to Regroup after Emotional Loss
The Chicago Blackhawks character and championship pedigree will certainly be tested after Thursday night’s gut wrenching loss in the series opener. The loss was also the Hawks 3rd consecutive defeat after finishing the regular season by dropping their last 2-games. Corey Crawford was terrific in defeat for Chicago as he stopped 48 of 52 St. Louis shots on goal. The Hawks will look to tighten up defensively heading into game 2 of the series, as they’ve now allowed 15-goals during their current 3-games losing streak. Chicago has now lost 8 of their last 9-road games.
It was a bit of a surprise to see these teams light up the scoreboard in the 1st period of the series opener. Chicago entered the 1st intermission with a 3-2 lead, and then the score proceeded to stay that way until the Blues tied the game with less than 2-minutes to play in regulation time. This was a St. Louis team that entered the postseason having scored 2-goals or less in each of their final 9 regular season games. After shaky starts by both goaltenders, they were able to settle down, and were nothing short of outstanding over the last 80-plus minutes of play. I look for both teams to tighten up defensively on Saturday, and for this one to be a low scoring affair.
Free Pick: Chicago/St. Louis to go under the total of 5.5