St. Louis Blues at Vancouver Canucks Free NHL Picks, Odds and Predictions
by George Monroy - 2/25/2014
Just as the St. Louis Blue were climbing up the Western Conference standings, the NHL season went into hiatus, and the rest of the league was given a few weeks to recharge and regroup for the final stretch of the year. The Blues had won six of their last eight games and were within two points of the struggling Anaheim Ducks for the top seed in the conference. The break may have put a temporary stop to St. Louis’ run, but the squad is ready to resume its winning ways as it will close off the month with two straight road games—one of them against the Ducks later in the week.
The Vancouver Canucks were one of those teams that desperately needed to regroup during the three-week break. The squad was on a brutal seven-game losing streak and had fallen out of the playoff standings and into the 10th spot in the West. Vancouver, however, is only a point behind that final postseason spot and can get right back into the mix with solid run over the last 22 games of the year. Let’s take a closer look at Wednesday’s matchup between the Blues and Canucks with picks, predictions and analysis.
St. Louis Blues at Vancouver Canucks Betting Story Lines
St. Louis is still sitting atop the NHL Stanley Cup futures odds as the co-favorite to win this year’s title. The oddsmakers at Sportsbook.ag have St. Louis, Chicago, and Anahiem all at +500 odds, while the Pittsburgh is close behind with +550. The Blues have been one of the best squads in the league all year and are currently ranked second in goals per game with an average of 3.3, third in goals allowed with 2.3 and fourth in power-play percentage at 21.7
On the offensive side of the puck, Alexander Steen and T.J. Oshie have been spectacular all year and lead the team in points with 46 apiece. Steen has 28 goals while Oshie has 32 assists. St. Louis also has two other players with 40 points on the season in Jaden Schwartz and David Backes. Starting goaltender Jaroslav Halak may not have performed up to his standards during the Olympics—team USA lit him up for five goals—but he has been nothing short of excellent for St. Louis during the year. The seven-year veteran has a .915 save percentage and is allowing only 2.26 goals per game on the season.
Vancouver is on a seven-game losing streak, dropped eight of its last nine, and is 4-15 in 2014. Yet, surprisingly the team is still in playoff contention with 63 points in the standings. Starting goaltender Roberto Luongo struggled prior to the break in losing his last five starts and allowing 17 goals in the process. Luongo is returning to Vancouver with a gold medal, and maybe his time with team Canada, even though he did not play much, was enough of a refresher to help the veteran through the last few games of the season.
The Canucks will play three straight home games beginning Wednesday night against the Blues, and then they will face a road-heavy schedule during the month of March. The team’s major struggles throughout the season have come from its offense. Vancouver is 24th in goals scored with an average of only 2.4 per game. The squad is being led by the 40 points of both Daniel and Henrik Sedin, but neither have more than 13 goals on the season.
St. Louis Blues at Vancouver Canucks NHL Betting Odds and Key Trends
St. Louis opened as a -125 road favorite over the +105 underdog Canucks. The total was set at 5.5 goals, with the “over” being favored at -125. St. Louis is 6-1 in its last seven games played on three or more days of rest and 9-3 in its last 12 against the Western Conference. The squad is 7-3 in its last 10 road games and has gone “under” in three of its last four Wednesday games.
Vancouver is 1-4 in its last five games against the Western Conference and 1-5 in its last six against teams with winning records above .600. The team is 0-5 in its last five games when scoring two goals or less in its previous matchup and in its last five Wednesday games. Vancouver has gone under in 11 of its last 16 Wednesday games. Head-to-head, the Blues are 2-5 in the last seven meetings between the teams.
St. Louis Blues at Vancouver Canucks Free NHL Picks and Betting Predictions
St. Louis is a very talented team and on the short list of squads gunning for the Stanley Cup title. There is no reason to suspect that the Blues will come into Wednesday’s matchup off their game and out of sync. Expect St. Louis’ excellent defense to pick up where it left off before the break and earn a solid road win. Take the Blues on the moneyline.
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