The Minnesota Wild continued their winning ways in Game 1 as they went into St. Louis and stunned the Blues with a 4-2 win. Can they cash in on the NHL betting lines again in Game 2 and head home up 2-0?
The Minnesota Wild Can Win Because…
The Blues are again having a tough time scoring in the playoffs, even though they're short favorites on the posted NHL betting odds. The last few seasons, the Blues have had all sorts of issues getting pucks in the net and that’s one of the main reasons why they went out and spent a fortune on Paul Stastny, who was had 10 points in the first-round last postseason. However, they again labored in Game 1 and didn’t score their first goal until the 7:12 mark of the third period. Their only other goal came shorthanded with less than a minute remaining.
Minnesota continues to play its game: solid defense, protect Dubnyk, play smart and win low-scoring, conservative games. They are now 18-10 in road games where the total is five or less. Game 2 will be the same, which means they should have roughly a 2-1 chance of winning it even though the odds list them as a dog. Food for thought.
The St. Louis Blues Can Win Because…
They are going to play far better in Game 2. The Blues didn’t really do much to test Devan Dubnyk in Game 1 as he only faced 21 shots. St. Louis didn’t really wake up until the third period as they had just 11 shots through the first 40 minutes and just four in the second period. In terms of effort, you can clearly see that the Wild had the edge in puck possession and were more aggressive as the Blues generated just two power plays compared to the Wild’s four. And while normally the Blues are a strong penalty killing team (finished seventh in the regular season), they gave up two goals on four power plays. In other words, there’s a lot the Blues can do better for Game 2.
This is it for them. They know they can’t afford to go back to Minnesota having lost both of their home games. That being the case, look for a monumental effort from the Blues here and a win.
This is a Wild team that continues to play great on the road as they have won 13 of their last 14 away games. Their only road loss in that span was a meaningless 4-2 defeat at St. Louis in the final day of the regular season. As for the Blues, they are a team that continues to have a tough time finding their way through for goals. They did score a pair in Game 1 but they both came late in the third period.
Although this is do-or-die time for the Blues, I’ve come completely off of their bandwagon after watching Game 1. They are going to have a really tough time in Game 2 and I believe it’s more likely than not they head back to Minnesota down 2-0. Take the Wild with your NHL picks.
NHL Pick: Wild +122 at BetOnline