The St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild meet for the first time since November on Sunday night at the Xcel Energy Center. That particular game was a close contest, with the Blues topping the Wild by a score of 4-3 in overtime. It might come back to be an important win for the Blues. They are currently 1st in the Central Division with a record of 35-17-10 and 80 points.
The Blues were off yesterday, while the Colorado Avalanche inched closer with a 2-1 win in Los Angeles. The Avalanche are only a point behind the Blues, so there’s a close race going on in the Central. It looked like the Blues were going to run away with the division, but the Avalanche weren’t going to allow that to happen so easily.
A cold run by the Blues, which saw them lose five straight games and 10 of 12 games, has put the Avalanche right back in the hunt for the Central. It’s likely that the Blues, Avalanche, and Stars will all be going to the playoffs as the top-3 teams in the division. The next team in line, the Jets, are 7 points behind the Stars for No. 3, so there is some distance between the rest of the division. Winnipeg will likely have to find a way into the playoffs with a wildcard. For the Blues, this season is going a lot differently than last season. If you recall, and how can you forget, the Blues went from last to the Stanley Cup with one of the most improbable runs in sports.
In 2019-20, the Blues have been playing like one of the better teams in the league in the regular season. And with that, the Blues are going to have a bigger target on their back as the games continue to get more important, especially in the playoffs. I think a lot of teams believed that the Blues were eventually going to run into a wall and regress, though that never happened at any point since they started winning in January. No team can take the Blues lightly this time around. Everyone is well aware how dangerous they can be. The Wild are hoping that they get a first-round crack at the Blues.
The Wild must use their last two games to gain some confidence and momentum. A win against the Blues tonight could be a turning point. They were winners against two quality opponents on the road, the Canucks and Oilers, and now the Wild return home to play another good team. That’d likely be quite the boost for the Wild if they can win three in a row like that. Head below for our free Blues vs. Wild pick.
St. Louis Blues vs. Minnesota Wild Betting Odds:
Blues vs. Wild Prediction:
The Wild haven’t generally been a good team on the road, but that definitely didn’t appear like the case in Western Canada. They left home after a 2-0 loss against the San Jose Sharks, and then turned around for a 4-3 and 5-3 win against the Canucks and Oilers. Credit the offence for keeping up in hostile environments.
It hasn’t been a spectacular season for Devan Dubnyk, so any help offensively will go a long way for the Wild. Dubnyk hopes to get his game going in the right direction for the most important part of the season. He has posted a 3.31 GAA and 0.893 save percentage in 28 games. Dubnyk appeared in Vancouver against the Canucks, and he made 31 saves on 34 shots for a 0.912 save percentage.
He has shared the crease with Alex Stalock, who has a 2.69 GAA and 0.908 save percentage. Stalock is the safer option for the Wild, while Dubnyk might be more boom or bust. Stalock patrolled the crease in the win against the Oilers. He was below average in that outing, with 23 saves on 36 shots for a 0.885 save percentage. If they continue to get goal support, then the Wild should be in a good spot in March.
The Wild have scored at least 3 goals in four of their last five outings. They get Jordan Binnington right where they want him on Sunday. Binnington has been very good at home, but his numbers take a serious dive on the road. He has posted a 2.12 GAA and 0.922 save percentage in St. Louis, compared to a 3.35 GAA and 0.896 save percentage on the road.
The Blues have allowed 3.19 goals per game as a visitor despite allowing only 2.74 goals per game overall. The Wild have scored an average of just over 3 goals per contest at home this year, and were looking really good in Vancouver and Edmonton recently. This looks like a 4-3 or 4-2 contest that gets OVER the total in Minnesota on Sunday.