The St. Louis Blues play host to the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night in a matchup of West Division teams. St. Louis is trying to clinch the final playoff spot in the West while Anaheim is just trying to get to the end of the season.
The Ducks have lost six of eight games and the end of the season can’t come soon enough. Anaheim has managed to rack up just 39 points and is in last place in the very tough West Division.
St. Louis has gone 4-1 in their last five games, and every win has been extremely important. The Blues now have 53 points, which is three ahead of the Arizona, and they have three games in hand on the Coyotes.
The NHL odds have the St. Louis Blues listed as big favorites at -250 in this matchup with the Anaheim Ducks. The over/under for total goals scored is set at 5.5.
Ducks Can’t Find Offense
If the Anaheim Ducks are going to provide a challenge to St. Louis, they are going to have to find a way to score some goals. Anaheim is averaging just 2.2 goals and that just isn’t enough to challenge most teams.
Special teams has been a big problem for the Ducks and that trend is not going to change in the final games. Anaheim has scored on less than 10 percent of their power-play attempts and it must do a better job of taking advantage of its opportunities.
Max Comtois leads the Ducks with 14 goals and 30 total points while Riclard Rakell has a team-high 18 assists. Injuries have taken a toll on Anaheim throughout the regular season, but this team just hasn’t gotten enough production from its top players.
Anaheim is also allowing 3.1 goals per game and that could allow St. Louis to take control.
Blues Struggling in Blue Paint
The St. Louis Blues have struggled in many areas but the play of their goaltenders has been the biggest issue. St. Louis is now giving up 3.1 goals per game and that just isn’t good enough to contend with the top teams in the West.
Jordan Binnington is the top goaltender for St. Louis, but he just hasn’t been consistent enough. Binnington has proven that he can get the job done in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but he has to help his team get there first.
St. Louis has scored at least three goals in each of the last five games and is averaging nearly three goals per game. The Blues have turned into a solid offensive team and they have converted on 22 percent of their power-play chances.
David Perron and Ryan O’Reilly lead the way for St. Louis and both veterans will need to power this team to the playoffs. Perron has a team-high 34 assists and 49 points and O’Reilly leads the way with 22 goals.
St. Louis Finds a Way
The Blues are still in a great position to clinch a playoff spot. St. Louis has not made it easy on itself with all of the goals it has allowed, but the offense has been able to bail them out on most nights.
Anaheim just doesn’t have an offensive attack to challenge the Blues, which will help St. Louis take control of this game. Playing at home will also help the Blues, who have plenty to play for in this matchup.
Nothing comes easy for the Blues, but they find a way to get the job done against a struggling Ducks team. When making your NHL pick, bet the St. Louis Blues -250 over the Anaheim Ducks as they move even closer to clinching a playoff berth.