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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.

Injury report

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.

Goalie Report

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.

Special Teams

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.

Key Stats

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.

Hockey Betting Picks

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

Pittsburgh Penguins vs St. Louis Blues Lines, NHL Hockey Picks

NHL Hockey Odds

Penguins at Blues Picks

By Jonathan Willis

The Pittsburgh Penguins finally seem to be rounding into form after middling performances through the first two-thirds of the season. Pittsburgh is now in second place in the Metropolitan Division after a big win over Vegas earlier in the week. A road win against the St. Louis Blues would help them close the distance on the Washington Capitals in the race for the division crown.

St. Louis has ideas of its own though. The Blues have the fourth-best record in the West as of Friday morning, and they have been great at home too.

Pittsburgh Penguins at St. Louis Blues
Date and Time:Sunday, February 11, 2018, 12 p.m. ET
Location: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Missouri
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Penguins at Blues TV Coverage: NBC

Coming into this one, Pittsburgh has won five of its last six games. However, all of those wins came at home, and the one time the Penguins went on the road, they looked completely listless against the Devils. This team has not been good on the road this season, with a 10-15-2 record away from the Steel City.

Over has been a good bet in Pittsburgh games recently, as the offense has scored at least five goals in four of its last five. Unsurprisingly, all four of those games went over the total.

St. Louis has won seven of its last ten coming into this game, and the Blues have been favored in eight of their last ten overall. Unlike Pittsburgh, the under has been the thing to bet in St. Louis games this season. Seven of the last ten games have gone under the total.

Injuries to Watch

The Penguins are winning games despite a number of injuries that have cut into this team’s depth. Wingers like Colin Sheary, PartricHornqvist, and Tom Kuhnhackl have all been added to the injured reserve list with lower-body injuries, causing Pittsburgh to have to rely on some of its depth down in the AHL. Sheary should return soon, but Hornqvist and Kuhnhackl are expected to be out a while.

St. Louis is relatively clean on the injury front. There are no new injuries listed for the Blues, just the two players that have been out since the pre-season.

Matchup to Watch

There has been a world of difference between the power play units for these two teams this year. Pittsburgh has the best power play in the NHL. The Penguins typically stack Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, and Phil Kessel together, and that is a tough combination to stop. They are finding the net on 26.8 percent of their opportunities, and that buoyed this team when it struggled earlier in the year.

Meanwhile, St. Louis has one of the worst power plays in the NHL. They score at a little over half the rate that Pittsburgh does, and that has hurt this team in low scoring games. The Blues do have more talent on offense than last season, but they need to find something that works on the power play.

Last Meeting

These two teams opened the season against each other in the Steel City and this will be their second meeting of the year. St. Louis looked excellent on offense in its opener, with Alex Pietrangelo finding the net twice in a 5-4 win.

Pittsburgh looked out of sorts on the defensive front, as its back line looked slow trying to cover the Blues’ speedy wingers. In particular, Olli Maatta was caught out of place a handful of times. It will be interesting to see whether or not the Blues try to take advantage of that again.

Penguins at Blues Free Picks

This is a tough spot for Pittsburgh to win in. The Pens have a tough road game against the Stars on Friday night and then have to make their way up here. St. Louis has been solid at home this year, winning 63.3 percent of their outings in regulation. Look for the Blues to chalk up another win here to stay in the running for a home playoff series.

Penguins at Blues Pick: Lay the chalk with the Blues
Penguins at Blues Score Prediction: Blues 3 – Penguins 2