Two West Division powers face off on Friday night when the Golden Knights tangle with the Blues in St. Louis. Let’s analyze this matchup and keep cashing our NHL picks!
Vegas Golden Knights vs. St. Louis Blues
Friday, March 12, 2021 – 8:00 PM ET at Enterprise Center, St. Louis, MO
The Golden Knights have a tenuous grasp on the top spot in the West and it’s getting even more suspect after they dropped two consecutive games to the Wild. After losing 2-0 to Minnesota on Monday, the Knights offense awoke after getting shutout for only the second time all year.
Well, let’s just say Vegas defenseman Dylan Coghlan woke up as he notched not only his first NHL hat trick but also the first three goals of his NHL career! What are the odds of that happening? Quite long to be sure but not unheard of as Coghlan became only the third defenseman in NHL history to score the first three goals of his career in a single game, along with Uli Hiemer (1984, of New Jersey) and Joe Hall (1918, of Montreal).
Unfortunately for the Knights, it was too little too late as the Wild already held a commanding 4-1 lead in the third period before Coghlan scored his second and third goals in what resulted in a 4-3 loss for the Knights. Vegas netminder, Marc-Andre Fleury, was driven from the game after allowing four goals on 29 shots while the Knights’ surrendered a goal to the league’s worst power-play unit when Kirill Kaprizov tallied for the Wild in the second period.
St. Louis Battling the Blues
St. Louis is singing the blues after dropping their last two contests but it is reflective of a year in which the team has alternated winning and losing streaks on a consistent basis. They started the season with a win then a loss over their first six games culminating in a 3-3 record but from then it has been a cluster of wins followed by a cycle of losses.
And so, after losing three straight, the Blues rebounded with four consecutive wins but then dropped their last two games, and once again the schizophrenic nature of this team manifests once more. But which team will we see tonight? That is the question we need to answer.
The Blues’ last two games have consisted of a 4-3 overtime loss to the Kings followed by a 3-2 overtime setback to the Sharks. Despite outshooting the Sharks, 26-20, St. Louis still lost and many of those narrow losses have to do with the rather pedestrian performances of the goaltending tandem of Jordan Binnington and Ville Husso, who check in with 2.69 and 3.48 goals against averages, respectively. Binnington was between the pipes for the most recent loss to the Kings while Husso got the starting assignment in the loss to the Sharks on Monday night.
Wanna Make a Bet?
These divisional rivals have only tangled once this season, a 5-4 St. Louis shootout victory back on January 26th in which the rematch two nights later was postponed. But here they are, back at it again, and both in the midst of a two-game slump.
The early NHL odds on this matchup are showing Vegas as -137 road chalk over at some of the best online sportsbooks like SugarHouse and Unibet. Despite the fact that former Blues’ captain, Alex Pietrangelo, will be out for the “the foreseeable future” with an upper-body injury he sustained while blocking a shot against the Sharks in Vegas’ 4-0 win on Saturday night, it’s tough not to want to swallow hard and lay the lumber with the Knights.
The Vegas’ defense is stingy and they will be getting back an elite netminder in Marc-Andre Fleury intent on redeeming himself after getting chased in the last game. And while the offenses are pretty much of a coin-flip between these two clubs, the Knights’ penalty-killing unit is one of the best in the league, extinguishing opponents’ man-advantage situations nearly 87 percent of the time while St. Louis ranks in the bottom third at 73.6 percent.
One of these teams will end their two-game losing streak and I say it will be the one with the stingier defense and superior goaltending. Bet Vegas and cash a ticket!
NHL Pick: Golden Knights -137 at SugarHouse