NHL Odds: Knights vs. Blues
|Golden Knights Odds||-148|
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Wednesday morning and via DraftKings.|
The underachieving Blues will host the Vegas Golden Knights again on Thursday night, hoping to get things turned around after a 6-1 pummeling Tuesday in the first of the two-game set.
Ville Husso was pulled early after allowing 5 goals on 19 shots, and the Blues never made it a game.
Personnel, Goaltending Problems Sinking Blues
St. Louis come in losers of seven straight, dropping from a playoff spot all the way to sixth in the West division in the process. The Blues sit five points back of Arizona for the final spot, with one game in hand. The playoffs are still within reach for 2018-19 Stanley Cup champions, but they will certainly have to raise their level of play to get there.
The Blues have shown some very legitimate regression this year, skating to an expected goals percentage of 47.34. The Blues lost captain Alex Pietrangelo to the Golden Knights last summer, Vladimir Tarasenko has played just 14 games and scored only two goals after a late start to the season recovering from yet another surgery, and Colton Parayko has played just 17 games, finally making his return from an upper body injury on Tuesday.
But more impactful than any of these personnel losses, Jordan Binnington and Husso have combined to be one of the worst goaltending tandems in the league. Binnington has been a shell of his cup winning self, with a .904% save percentage and a goals saved above expected rating of -5. Ville Husso has not taken the opportunity to steal the starting role, owning an .883% save percentage and a goals saved above expected rating of -11.3.
If the Blues are going to overcome the five-point deficit they now are up against for the final playoff spot, they will certainly need to put a halt to this seven-game losing streak tomorrow night.
Vegas Too Deep For Most Teams
The Golden Knights are a perfect fit to represent Sin City, playing a very high tempo style involving lots of chances both ways. Vegas sit fifth in xGF/60 at 2.59, and 23rd in xGA/60 at 2.42. The style certainly works for them, as they own a 25-10-2 record overall and sit second just to the utterly dominant Avalanche.
Vegas own one of the best goaltending tandems in the league between Marc Andre-Fleury and Robin Lehner. Fleury has received more starts this year due to Lehner’s injury, and has certainly taken advantage with a .924 save percentage and ranking second in goals saved above expected at 12.2. Robin Lehner has found his form as well since his return, including dominating the Blues in Tuesday’s win.
Mark Stone is the leader of a very deep offense, and should finish inside the top 10 for Hart trophy voting. Max Pacioretty has been the main benefactor of Stone’s incredible passing, and has continued to his career resurgence. Marchessault-Karlsson-Smith is now technically the No. 2 line, but is still an elite one. Alex Tuch might be one of the most underrated players in the game, and he’s certainly someone I would recommend paying attention to going forward.
Vegas are currently the third cup favourites at most books, and rightfully so as the team has been dominant again.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Vegas has made up for it offensively, but stellar goaltending has hidden a 2.76 Expected Goals Against per/60 over their last 11 games, good for second worst in the league. Thanks to their high-event style, the Knights’ defense has given up lots of chances.
St. Louis may be due for some better offensive play, as I believe that the talent of this group is simply not worthy of posting bottom feeder offensive analytics and scoring at such a poor clip of late. Rob Thomas, Ivan Barbashev, and Vlad Tarasenko is an intriguing third line with some real scoring upside. Jordan Kyrou has gone very quiet after starting the year red hot, but I still feel that he Brayden Schenn and Jayden Schwartz can produce more than they have as a second line.
Ryan O’Reilly and David Perron have been the two most consistent Blues, and will likely play on a long alongside Mike Hoffman again tomorrow. Let’s look for some of these guys to get going against a Vegas team that certainly has offered up lots of chances lately.
I’m not sure if I believe this Blues team is anywhere near what they were when they won the cup, but I think given the circumstances it’s a good bet that a desperate performance could lead to some goals off of a Vegas team that has leaked chances.
I think taking St. Louis moneyline at +128 is reasonable, but I believe that St. Louis to score over 2.5 goals (home team total goals) at -120 at DraftKings is great value and my favourite bet on the board of what should be a very entertaining game.
Pick: Blues team total over 2.5 (Home team total goals)
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