The Blues and Jets meet for the second of four matchups this season. The Blues will look to get a little revenge on their Central Division rival on Monday night. Winnipeg will look to continue their strong start to the new season with another win against the Blues.
Winnipeg has started out the season with a record of 5-2-1. The Jets are currently sitting in third place of the Central Division behind Colorado and Nashville. Winnipeg finished in second place of the Central Division last season and made it all the way to the Conference Finals in the playoffs. The Jets have earned points in their last four games.
St. Louis are tied for last place in the Central Division with the Dallas Stars. The Blues have begun the season with a 2-3-2 record. St. Louis barely missed the playoffs last season. The Blues made some solid moves in the offseason to try and get back into the playoffs, but so far St. Louis had not looked great. The Blues broke a three-game losing streak with a win in Toronto on Saturday night.
I expect St. Louis and Winnipeg to play a close matchup on Monday night. The Blues could use a divisional win to help them get back on track to begin this season, while the Jets want to continue their strong start. The Central Division is tightly contested, and it shows in their divisional games. That could mean this is a really good game to watch.
Last season, the Blues and Jets faced each other four times. They tied the season series at 2-2. St. Louis and Winnipeg each won one game at home and lost the other. The two teams met in a back to back to begin the season. St. Louis won the first game at home by a score of 2-0. Winnipeg took the second night at home by a score of 4-0. The last two games came on separate occasions later in the season. The Blues won the third game 5-2, while the Jets took the last game 4-0 again.
Vladimir Tarasenko found quite a bit of success against the Jets last season. Tarasenko scored three goals and added an assist in the Blues wins. Patrik Laine scored three goals for Winnipeg, while Kyle Connor had four points. All three of those players are big playmakers for their respective team, so I would not be surprised if they find success against each other this season.
Winnipeg and St. Louis met to open up this season. Kyle Connor, Patrik Laine, and Blake Wheeler all had a goal and an assist for Winnipeg as the Jets cruised to a 5-1 win. Vince Dunn scored the only goal for St. Louis in the loss. Jake Allen had a rough night, allowing five goals on twenty shots. Connor Hellebuyck had forty-one saves in the win.
The Jets and Blues have both found a lot of success on special teams to begin this season. St. Louis has scored on 28 percent of their power play chances to begin the season. David Perron leads the Blues with three power-play goals. Winnipeg’s power play has been even better, scoring at a rate of 35 percent. Patrik Laine and Blake Wheeler each have four power-play points.
The Jets penalty kill has been on a roll to begin the season as well. Winnipeg has killed off 83.33 percent of their penalties against. St. Louis has put up a penalty kill percentage of 82.61. Both penalty kills will get an exciting test against each other’s power plays. Staying out of the penalty box will be key for each team, but if either team does the power play will be important in the outcome of the game.
Jake Allen will likely start in net for St. Louis. Allen has gone 2-2-2 to begin this season. He has a save percentage of .886 and a 3.44 GAA. Last season, Allen put up a .906 save percentage and a GAA of 2.75. I expect his numbers to improve as this season moves on.
The Jets will likely have Connor Hellebuyck start in net of Monday night. Hellebuyck has a .914 save percentage and a GAA of 2.66 to begin this season. He has gone 3-2-1 in his starts. Hellebuyck finished as a Vezina Trophy finalist last season with a save percentage of .924 and a 2.36 GAA.
I believe the Jets get the edge in net, but Allen is due for a breakout game. Allen has struggled to begin this season, but if he can have a good performance against Winnipeg it could really get him going again. Hellebuyck will look to build off his solid performance in the first game against the Blues this season.
St. Louis and Winnipeg played a tight series last season. Winnipeg took the first game and I believe the Blues will be out for revenge on Monday night. The Jets are at home, but I believe St. Louis has a chance in this game. The Blues will need a big game from Allen if they want to pull off the upset though.
BetOnline has the Blues listed at a money line of +149. This implies that they win this game 40 percent of the time. Upsets are more likely to occur in rivalry games like this one, which makes me believe the line should imply more like 45 percent chance of winning. I believe that there is a lot of value in picking St. Louis as such a large underdog.