NHL Odds Blackhawks vs. Blues Picks
By Rock Westfall
A do or die month is about to end for the St. Louis Blues. A three-game losing streak has put The Note one point behind the Colorado Avalanche for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Blues season will end at Colorado on Saturday and their mission is to stay close enough for that game to matter. For the Chicago Blackhawks it has been a season of implosion. A concussion to goaltender Corey Crawford served to end their season on December 23. The Blackhawks lacked the depth of scoring and defense to overcome Crawford’s absence. The Blues host the Blackhawks on Wednesday.
Chicago Blackhawks vs. St. Louis Blues
Date and Time: Wednesday, April 4, 2018, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Missouri
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Blackhawks vs. Blues TV Coverage: NBCSN “Rivalry Night”
After winning eight out of nine with a gun to their head to climb into playoff position the Blues dropped three straight. Goal scoring has been a sore spot for the Blues all season but has vanished at the worst possible time. St. Louis scored just five goals during that three-game losing streak. All three games still managed to go over the total due to Jake Allen’s subpar goaltending.
Chicago will be hitting the golf links next week after nine straight years in the playoffs. Chicago has lost seven out of their last nine games with just two out of their last nine games going under the total.
For Chicago team captain and center Jonathan Toews is probable with an upper body ailment. Goaltender Corey Crawford remains out for the season after a concussion.
For St. Louis defenseman Jay Bouwmeester remains out with a hip injury. Players to Watch
St. Louis right winger Vladimir Tarasenko looms large for this one as one of the few goal scoring threats the Blues have. The Russian sniper leads The Note with 32 goals on the season. Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo is having his best season with 15 goals and 38 assists.
Jake Allen was celebrated as the goalie of the future for the Blues when he arrived four years ago. Instead he has been wildly inconsistent with a .907 save percentage and a 2.72 goals against average. Backup Carter Hutton has a .930 save percentage but choked down the stretch at the worst possible time with a save percentage of .883 in his last five starts.
Anton Forsberg has gotten most of the starts for Chicago in the absence of Corey Crawford. Forsberg has a save percentage of .908 with a 2.97 goals against average. JF Berube has a save percentage of .891 with a 3.93 goals against average in 11 starts. Collin Delia has a save percentage of .889 with two starts recently.
The Blues power play has been abysmal this year with a ranking of 30th in the NHL. Their penalty killing ranks a mediocre 17th in the NHL. If the Blues fail to make the playoffs special teams would be as big of a culprit as any.
Chicago has also struggled on the power play with a NHL ranking of 29th. Their penalty killing has been a subpar 20th in the league.
St. Louis is 43-30-6 with a home record of 24-16-0. The Blues have gone under the total in 25 of their 40 home games. The Blues rank 24th in the NHL for goal scoring but rank seventh in the NHL for goals against.
Chicago is 32-37-8-2 with a road record of just 14-20-4-1. The Blackhawks have gone under the total in just 15 out of 39 away games. Chicago ranks 19th in the NHL for goal scoring and 23rd for goals against.
The Blackhawks have lost their last two visits to St. Louis. The last three meetings between these teams at Scottrade Center have failed to stay under the total.
Blackhawks vs. Blues Free Picks
This is the regular season home finale for the Blues. It may also be the last home game period. Failure is not an option. The Blues must win to stay alive for the playoffs.
Blackhawks vs. Blues Pick: Bet the St. Louis Blues money line
Blackhawks vs. Blues Score Prediction: Blues 3, Blackhawks 1