Expect the unexpected Thursday night as the Minnesota Wild (35-15-5) return to Enterprise Center where they’ve yet to beat the St. s Blues (26-20-9). It’s been a rough experience for Minnesota here as they are 0-2-1 with a -13 goal differential.
But with the playoff standing already established for these teams, it might be their bench players getting most of the ice time hence the pick’em betting odds of -110 for both. In this sense, St. Louis could hold steady on home ice and win.
Wild: Kicking the Blues
Boy, did the Minnesota Wild get their butts kicked in their last game. This team just hasn’t found a way to beat the Blues on their own ice as backup goalie Ville Husso shut them out 4-0.
It wasn’t for lack of trying as the Wild outplayed St. Louis and played like a team that wanted it more. They just couldn’t get the right bounces, a rarity for this team as the Wild continue to be among the league leaders in shooting percent (SH%), especially during scoring chances.
Minnesota is usually backstopped by Kaapo Kahkonen, who has been the 1B to their opportunistic goal scoring. But it might be Cam Talbot or one of their third-stringers who start as a result of the team resting for the playoffs.
Blues: Winning Back Home Ice
The St. Louis Blues have looked invincible on home ice for their last few games. St. Louis is 7-2-1 at the Enterprise Center in its last ten and it’s riding a five-game point streak. But that wasn’t the case for a long stretch this season.
The Blues underwent an eight-game losing skid that lasted almost two months, hence why their overall record is just 11-11-5. But with more fans being allowed for the playoffs, the 2019 Stanley Cup champions are keeping the Enterprise Center nice and cozy for everyone but their opponents.
THE ST. LOUIS BLUES ARE HEADING TO THE STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
In the words of Jordan Binnington:
— Chief Berube (@NotChiefBerube) May 8, 2021
St. Louis got a dominant performance from its top line of C Ryan O’Reilly, RW David Perron, and LW Ivan Barbashev yesterday. But expect the team to give its main players a well-deserved rest just before the playoffs.
Pick: The Replacements
The St. Louis Blues should be favored to win this game if they play their starters. The Blues main players have the Minnesota Wild’s number at home. Their ability to grind the Wild and seal off the high danger areas throws a wrench into the Wild’s gameplan.
However, if we will get the battle of the backups then it’s a toss-up as the NHL odds reflect. Both teams are heavily dependent on their top lines, but the Blues have a more sustainable gameplan of playing responsible two-way hockey.
The Wild may be too dependent on how well the likes of LW Kirill Kaprizov, LW Kevin Fiala, and C Joel Eriksson Ek play. There may not be enough scoring depth through four lines for this team to get over the Blues’ defense.
Pick: St. Louis Blues -110
Bonus Pick: Wet Ice
On the note of having a grinding game, expect the totals to once again go under just like the previous game. The Blues have routinely had big scoring periods against the Wild but the same can’t be said for the other way.
We’ll either have another one-sided win for the home team or a more balanced game with a few goals on each side. Either way, it’ll be tough for either team to score enough to run up the score past six goals.