The NHL is set up with an action packed night of hockey on Thursday night. Eleven games will be up on the board throughout March 25. One of these matchups will be between the St. Louis Blues and the Minnesota Wild. These two teams have been solid throughout this season and will look for a big win in this one. This game will drop the puck at around 8:00 PM Eastern time.
St. Louis has put up a record of 16-11-5 to this point in the season, which has them sitting in fourth place of the West Division. The Blues are coming off a loss and have lost six of their last eight. St. Louis still has a solid lead over the fifth seed in the West, which they will look to strengthen in this one. The Blues will look to start this one out strong to grab a huge win.
The Wild have opened up this season with a record of 20-10-1, which has them sitting in third place of the West Division. Minnesota is coming off back to back wins and have won seven of their last nine. The Wild have a four point lead over the Blues for the third seed, which they will look to extend that lead with a win in this one.
These two teams are sitting in playoff spots to this point in the season and will look for a big win on Thursday night. The Blue can get back into the third seed of the West with a win over Minnesota in this one. Both of these teams have been trending in opposite directions as of late, but I expect St. Louis to try and turn it around with a big win over the Wild.
The Blues and the Wild met up three times throughout last season. St. Louis hosted the first game on October 30. Mats Zuccarello scored for Minnesota, but it was not enough. Alex Pietrangelo had a goal and an assist on the night. Jordan Binnington stopped 35 of 36 shots as the Blues were able to earn a 2-1 win at home in this one.
The second game of the season series shifted to Minnesota on November 2. Kevin Fiala, Marcus Foligno and Mats Zuccarello all scored for the Wild, but Minnesota still came up short. Ryan O’Reilly scored the game winner in overtime and added an assist. The Blues were able to earn a big 4-3 win on the road in this one.
Minnesota also hosted the third game of the season series on February 23. Marcus Foligno scored a goal in this one, but the Wild once again could not get the win. Oskar Sundqvist had a goal and an assist on the night. Jordan Binnington finished with 32 saves on 33 shots as St. Louis swept the season series with a 4-1 win on the road.
These two teams will meet for the first time this season on Thursday night. The Blues were able to sweep the season series last season. St. Louis will look to repeat that success to start out this season’s series. I expect the Blue to try and come out quickly as they try to get the offense going in this one. Minnesota’s offense has been better this season and they will look to bounce back in this game.
St. Louis has struggled on both sides of special teams throughout this season. The Blues have scored on 18 of their 94 power play chances, which is a 19.2 percent success rate. St. Louis has killed off 77 of their opponents 105 power play attempts, which is a 73.3 percent penalty kill. The Blues will look to step up on both sides of special teams in this one.
The Wild have been struggling heavily on the power play this season. Minnesota has capitalized on 10 of their 100 power play opportunities, which is a 10 percent power play. The Wild have been much better on the penalty kill though. Minnesota has given up 15 power play goals on their 102 penalties against, which is an 85.2 percent kill rate.
The Blues have a solid edge on the power play in this one, but they will have a tough task against Minnesota’s penalty kill. The Wild’s power play has not gotten anything going this season, but they will meet up with a struggling St. Louis penalty kill. If either team can get a power play goal or two, it could be the difference in Thursday night’s meeting.
I expect Jordan Binnington to get the nod in the net for the Blues in this one. Binnington has earned a record of 10-8-4 through his starts this season. He has put up a .905 save percentage and a GAA of 2.83 throughout his games played. Binnington finished with 30 saves on 35 shots in his last start against the Vegas Golden Knights, which was not enough for the win.
Kaapo Kahkonen will likely get the start between the pipes for Minnesota on Thursday night. Kahkonen has played in 17 games this season, going 12-5 through his starts. He has posted a save percentage of .921 and a 2.29 GAA in his starts. Kahkonen’s last start was against the Colorado Avalanche, where he stopped 36 of 42 shots in the loss.
These two goalies have been solid throughout this season, but are coming off a tough start in their last outing. Kahkonen has been slightly better throughout this season, but I expect Binnington to bounce back in this one. Both teams gave up a lot of shots in their last game, which makes me expect the defenses to try and give more help early in this meeting.
St. Louis has struggled as of late, but I think that they can earn a much needed win against the Wild on Thursday night. The Blues have been strong throughout this season and will look to knock off Minnesota in this one. St. Louis will look to get their special teams going in this one and will try to give Binnington some help early. The Wild are coming off a game on Wednesday night, which I think the Blues can take advantage of in this one.
BetOnline has Minnesota listed as a -130 against the money line on Thursday night. This implies that the Wild are going to win this game around 56.4 percent of the time. I think that this game should be closer to even with how tight these two teams are in the standings. I think that the Blues will come out hot in this one and as solid underdogs, I really like the value on St. Louis.