The Blues are inching closer to clinching the fourth and final playoff spot in the West Division, but the Knights are looking to maintain their hold on the No. 1 seed. Let’s analyze this Friday night divisional matchup and keep cashing our NHL picks.
St. Louis Blues vs. Vegas Golden Knights
Friday, May 07, 2021 – 10:00 PM EDT at T-Mobile Arena
The Blues had reeled off four straight wins before falling, 4-3 in overtime, to the Stars on Saturday. They rebounded with a solid 3-1 victory over Anaheim on Monday before welcoming the Ducks again, two nights later, only to bow 3-2 in a shootout.
Mike Hoffman notched his 17th goal of the season when he drew first blood for the Blues on the power-play unit to put his team in front, 1-0, in the first period of Wednesday night’s tangle with the Ducks. But Anaheim would connect on the next two goals, putting St. Louis behind 2-1 before Kyle Clifford tallied for his fourth goal of the season early in the final period to even the score.
The overtime period was scoreless but Anaheim prevailed in the shootout round when Troy Terry tucked the biscuit behind Jordan Binnington to seal the deal for the Ducks. Speaking of Binnington, the 27-year-old veteran was awarded the second star of the game, turning aside 33 of 35 shots, and keeping the Blues in contention throughout.
St. Louis has five games remaining on their regular-season slate and are six points in front of the Coyotes for the final playoff spot in the division. However, Vegas will be a formidable opponent over these next two back-to-back games in Sin City and nothing is assured quite yet.
Statistically speaking, the Blues are ranked 13th in goals scored (2.94 GF/G), 21st in goals allowed (3.04 GA/G), 9th on the power play (22.8%), and 28th on the penalty kill, (76.4%).
Vegas Rolling into Postseason
The Golden Knights were the hottest team in the league, fashioning a 10-game winning streak before the Coyotes pulled off a 3-0 stunner in the desert. But Vegas regrouped the following evening with a 3-2 overtime victory over Arizona, only to drop a 6-5 slugfest with the Stars two nights later.
In their last performance on Wednesday, the Knights would avenge their loss to Minnesota and emerge with a 3-2 overtime decision. Chandler Stephenson would score his 13th goal in the first period while Reilly Smith evened the game with a late third-period power-play goal, his 10th tally of the season. But it was Alex Pietrangelo’s fifth goal of the year that copped the overtime victory with assists from Jonathan Marchessault and Alex Tuch. Marc-Andre Fleury earned the win with his 26 saves.
Statistically, the Knights are ranked 4th in goals scored (3.37 GF/G), 1st in goals allowed (2.23 GA/G), 21st on the power play (18.8%), and 2nd on the penalty kill (86.1%).
Wanna Make a Bet?
This will be the seventh of eight meetings between the clubs and they will face off again tomorrow night in a rematch at the T-Mobile Arena. Vegas holds a 4-2 series advantage but the last time these teams battled was nearly a month ago when the Blues notched a 3-1 win. Jordan Binnington came up huge in that game, stoning 50 of 51 shots by the visiting Knights. The victory also snapped what was a seven-game losing streak for St. Louis.
The early NHL odds on this one reveal the Knights as -159 home chalk, which is around what they were when they lost to the Blues on the road in their last meeting. Chances are we will see Robin Lehner between the pipes for the Knights considering head coach, Peter DeBoer, has been religiously alternating his goaltending tandem over the last six weeks and Fleury got the start in their last game on Wednesday night against Minnesota.
Both teams have something to play for in this one as the Golden Knights would like to lock up the No. 1 seed in the West while the Blues would just like an invitation to the postseason party. If the standings hold, the Blues would meet the Knights in Vegas a few weeks from now in the opening round of the playoffs
The price is fairly steep on Vegas at this point, but don’t delay, because this line could rise even higher on the home team. The Knights have a more explosive offense and, unless Blues’ goalie Jordan Binnington can recreate his heroics from the last time these teams met, I don’t suspect anything but a Vegas win on Friday night.
Free NHL Pick: Knights -159 at SugarHouse