After a night off yesterday evening, we return on Wednesday to a small, but valued slate of NHL contests. We enter the evening 16-6 after winning our most recent contest with the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday afternoon. For tonight’s featured selection, we’ll focus on the reeling Avalanche hosting a Blues squad that has just about turned the corner. Read below for tonight’s free pick.
St. Louis Blues (-120) @ Colorado Avalanche (+100)
Despite the fact that the Blues played last night at home against the Sharks, their price tonight is a tad surprising. St. Louis remains one of the top teams in the league, and will contend for the Western Conference when all is said and done. This is a classic battle of two teams headed in opposite directions. With the Avs almost ready to throw in the towel on the season, the Blues are primed for a lengthy playoff run. Expect those dynamics to unfold Wednesday night in the Mile-High City.
After struggling through a five-game losing streak, the Blues have rebounded nicely of late. Beating Vancouver on their home ice is nothing to scoff at, and though they lost to the Sharks yesterday, their travel arrangements were less than ideal. The Blues were stranded in Vancouver overnight and couldn’t get back in time to properly prepare for San Jose. Now that the Blues have had enough time to regroup and prepare, look for the Blues to rout a depleted Avalanche squad.
Even though much more was expected from Colorado in 2013, those hopes haven’t materialized. Colorado has had to endure lengthy injuries to first-liner Steve Downie, team captain Gabriel Landeskog, all while dealing with a contract dispute with star centre, Ryan O’Reilly. The Avs have some decent young talent and should be playing better, but these injuries and distractions have derailed their season. On Saturday, they blew a 3-0 lead against an equally youthful Oilers squad, dropping a 6-4 contest. Though they beat the Predators in their most recent game, this is a team with huge defensive deficiencies, and an experienced group like the Blues will exploit that.
Look for St. Louis to run over a soft Avalanche defense with their insane forward depth. The Blues can roll three equally talented lines, and Colorado can’t match up with that. Even though the Blues are in a back-to-back situation, their depth helps prevent from tired legs. Best of all for the Blues tonight will be the fact that starting goalie Jaroslav Halak returns to the net. Halak has been stellar in St. Louis and look for another solid outing tonight in Colorado.
PICK = St. Louis (-120)