The St. Louis Blues stole Game 1 away from the Wild in Minnesota, putting all of the pressure squarely on the Wild in Game 2. The Wild have made a habit out of reaching the playoffs and then laying a dud.
They got out to a lightning quick start, playing like one of the best teams in the league through the first-half of the schedule. The final two or three months of the season, though, painted a different picture regarding this team. They looked like a team who were running out of gas, and perhaps peaked too early in the year.
Nevertheless, the Wild finished the year with a very respectable record of 49-25-7 and can make it really count now. They did win four in a row entering the postseason, though, to give them some momentum moving forward.
The Blues were winners of three in a row and made it four with the Game 1 victory. They’ve gone 7-2 in their last nine games. If the Blues can get past the Wild here, I wouldn’t put it past them making it back to the Eastern Conference Finals.
If you recall, the Blues were a series away from going to the Stanley Cup Finals, but ultimately couldn’t beat the Sharks in the Western Conference Finals. The Sharks seemed like a team of destiny, who ended up ending the Blues’ bid at the Stanley Cup. Brian Elliott is no longer between the pipes.
He was integral to their success, and this season goaltending has taken a dive. However, Jake Allen was special in Game 1, sending back 51 shots while only allowing 1 goal. After the overtime win for the Blues, the defence must wake up and play much better, though. They are not going to survive too many more barrages like that. Let’s go searching for a winning pick in Game 2.
St. Louis Blues vs. Minnesota Wild Game 2 Pick
The Wild have to be feeling slightly frustrated after coming away with a loss in Game 1 after doubling the Blues in shots, yet getting nothing out of it. If Allen can someway play like this for another two months, the rest of the NHL is going to be put on notice. Dubnyk will have to play lights out for the Wild for them to have a chance if that’s the case. He’s made for such a fine story, a castaway from the Oilers, coming over and carving out quite the career as a starter in Minnesota.
The odds makers overwhelmingly believe that the Wild are going to tie this series up. They’re going with the belief that there isn’t anyway the Blues are going to win two games on the road. I don’t see it that outlandish. The Blues aren’t some useless team with no talent. This is a team who were just in the conference finals and two games away from going to the finals. The Wild, meanwhile, are a franchise who have a history of drawing blanks in the postseason. St. Louis are getting no respect, but I for one don’t see them as this big of dogs in Game 2. Our NHL pick is on the Blues to take a 2-0 series lead going back home.
PICK: BLUES (+163)