The Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues could legitimately meet up in the Stanley Cup final, so Saturday’s matchup could be a foreshadowing of things to come. The Penguins are struggling right now, though, and will need to be on their best to win this contest. They’re a dog on the NHL betting lines in this spot.
The Pittsburgh Penguins Can Win Because…
The Blues are in a back-to-back situation. St. Louis has had a busy couple of days, going from playing the Boston Bruins on Friday to the Penguins on Saturday. That’s a fairly challenging stretch on consecutive nights. They’ve also had some issues recently as while they’re still among the Stanley Cup favorites, they were just 3-3 in their last six before Friday’s game with Boston.
While the Pens are struggling to score goals, the good news is that goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is playing some of his best hockey of the season. Fleury has given up just eight goals in his last six games, playing lights out hockey. They’ll need to ride him to get the win on Saturday.
The St. Louis Blues Can Win Because…
The Penguins are struggling right now. Pittsburgh has now dropped three in a row, scoring just one goal in each contest. On the season, the Pens are in the middle of the pack in terms of offense, scoring 2.76 goals per game (16th in the NHL). But they’ve been much worse of late as they’ve averaged a paltry 1.89 goals per game in February, which ranks them 27th in the NHL.
The bigger story here might be the fact that the Pens can’t really get it together these days. After starting off 22-6-4, they are just 10-11-5 in their last 26 games. They continue to get respect from the NHL betting odds makers but truthfully, this is not a team that’s really been that reliable. What must be concerning is that the Pens have lost two straight and three of their last four at home where they are supposedly the better team. The Pens are just 14-13 on the road and have not fared well against winning teams recently. They have dropped eight of 11 games teams above .500.
The Blues are 8-3 when at home with a total of 5.5, 12-3 on Saturdays and are 17-6 in non-conference affairs. The stats point to them getting the job done on Saturday in this matchup – even though they are in a back-to-back situation.
The Pens are struggling right now (three-game losing streak) and really haven’t been a Stanley Cup contender since winning 22 of their first 32 games. It doesn’t make sense to be taking shots with them in this spot. The Blues are a fantastic home team (22-6-2) and are generally very tough to beat on their home-ice. Combined with the fact that the Penguins aren’t scoring much and it seems like St. Louis is a reasonable NHL pick here on the moneyline.
NHL Pick: Blues -128 at Pinnacle