The St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild finished up their regular season with a meeting in St. Louis where the Blues won 4-2. Will the first game of their playoff series go the same way? The Blues are favored on the NHL betting lines.
The Minnesota Wild Can Win Because…
Devan Dubnyk might be the best goaltender in this series. The challenge for the Blues is they have two No. 2 goaltenders but don’t really have a great No. 1 who has carried them in the playoffs. That being the case, the Wild could have an edge here between the pipes.
Dubnyk has been fantastic for the Wild, going 27-9-2 while posting a 1.78 GAA and a .936 save percentage. Although he only played half the season with the Wild, if you flesh those numbers out over the full year, no other goaltender had better averages in both categories.
The Wild did lose four of six to end the year but they simply took their foot off the gas after pushing the pedal to the metal for two or three months. They’re still a very good team that’s going to be more than a handful for the Blues in Game 1.
The St. Louis Blues Can Win Because…
They have more momentum going into the playoffs. The Wild tapered off in April and that could cost them early in this series. They’ve lost four of six heading into the playoffs, which is a stark contrast to how they played in the months before that. As for the Blues, they’ve won five of six and their offense has looked good, averaging 3.17 goals per game in that span.
This is a very balanced Blues team that finished the year fifth in goals scored and fifth in goals allowed. They were also an excellent home team as their 27 wins were the second-most in the Western Conference and the third-most in the NHL.
Beyond that, the Blues own this series as they have won four of the last five times these two teams met in St. Louis as well as nine of the last 12 meetings overall. They’ll be happy that they don’t have to see the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round again. After disappointing in last year’s playoffs, look for the Blues to get this year’s postseason started off on the right note.
An interesting stat to note is that the Blues are just 1-6 this season when playing after three or more days of rest. Other than that, though, the stats point to them getting the win. They have home-ice advantage and have been playing better heading into the postseason.
In and around the -140/-150 range on the posted NHL odds, I still like the Blues here for my NHL picks. If it goes higher, I will go with the over as the over is 4-1-1 in the last six meetings between the teams and it’s also 12-5 when the Blues are at home with a total of five or less this season.
NHL Pick: Blues or Over 5 at The Greek