I handed out a trio of free NHL pick on last night’s six-game NHL schedule, however for the first time in a while I suffered a loss.
The lone winner of the night came in Anaheim where the Ducks and Panthers got together and also where I had Florida as -128 moneyline favorites.
Despite surrendering the first goal of the game, the Panthers went on to score four unanswered goals and the 4-1 Panthers final was one of those easy wins we all like to notch.
However, the remaining two picks didn’t go our way.
I had the white-hot Bruins to go into Edmonton and hand the Oilers a regulation loss at -130 odds, but the home side stood tall in this one.
The short-handed Oilers allowed the first goal of the game and I thought the Bruins might take control from there, but Edmonton managed to hold Boston to just that one goal in regulation while replying with one of their own early in the third.
As soon as this one went to overtime, our pick was sunk. Boston’s David Pastrnak eventually played the hero with a breakaway winner to give the Bruins 10 wins in their last 11 games.
Finally, I took a shot on the Islanders as +141 road underdogs in Colorado against an Avalanche team also dealing with significant injuries, but it didn’t work out for me.
The Islanders’ offense that had scored just once over their previous three games failed to get going again, scoring just once in this one late in the third after Colorado scored three of their own.
The 3-1 Avalanche win gave us a losing night and the Islanders a four-game losing streak.
All told, we dropped 1.30 units on Wednesday night, but I’ll put that behind me and look to get back to my winning ways on this eight-game Thursday night schedule!
Season Record: 99-85-1
Now it’s time to dive into this free NHL pick featuring the Coyotes vs. Blues from St. Louis!
Coyotes vs. Blues Betting Odds
- Coyotes (+152)
- Blues (-169)
- Coyotes +1.5 (-172)
- Blues -1.5 (+152)
- Over 5.5 (+115)
- Under 5.5 (-127)
Coyotes vs. Blues NHL Pick Breakdown
Now let’s take a look at each of these teams before getting into my final pick!
Tonight marks the second game of back-to-back contests for the Coyotes after they dropped a tough 3-2 decision to a very good Dallas Stars last night to kick off this quick two-game road trip.
They actually mustered 41 shots on goal against an elite Stars home defense and while they went 1 for 3 on the power play, allowing two goals on just two Dallas power plays was the difference in that one.
Now, they’ll have to come right back and look to solve another elite home defense in the form of the St. Louis Blues.
It’s certainly going to be a difficult task as the Coyotes rank 26th with just 2.39 goals per game on the road this season where their power play sits at a decent 13th with a 19.2% clip.
Clearly, their 5v5 road offense is struggling at the moment with their 1.90 goals/60 at 5v5 on the road ranks them 29th in the league, ahead of only the Red Wings and struggling Islanders.
After scoring on the man advantage last night, the Coyotes have scored one power play goal in six of their last eight games.
The Coyotes have managed to win two of their last three despite scoring just seven goals in that time thanks to some stout defense of their own.
After allowing three goals in Dallas, the Coyotes have no allowed just five goals over their last three games.
They’ll enter this one ranked sixth with 2.79 goals per game on the road this season where their penalty kill sits 15th with a decent 79.2% mark.
Unlike their offense, their 5v5 defense is of excellent quality as they sit fourth with just 2.13 goals against/60 on the road in that department.
Their 5v5 possession numbers away from home are not of excellent quality, however.
The ‘Yotes enter this one ranked 20th with a 47.50% Corsi For% at 5v5 on the road, 28th with a 45.29% Scoring Chances For% and 26th with a brutal 42.75% High-Danger Chances For%.
It’s a good thing that they’ve received some elite road goaltending this season as their .933 Sv% on the road at 5v5 ranks them fourth in the league and their .914 Sv% on the road overall ranks eighth.
After Adin Hill took the loss last night in Dallas, I would strongly suspect Antti Raanta to get the nod in this one tonight, and he’s been excellent of late.
Raanta has endured some struggles this season, but has bounced back to enter this one sporting a 2.70 GAA and .919 Sv% on the season across 29 starts and 30 appearances.
On the road, Raanta has turned in a not-so-pretty 3.35 GAA and .903 Sv%, but he’s also posted a stout 1.85 GAA and .943 Sc% across seven starts in the month of February, going 4-2-1 in the process.
He posted a nice .915 Sv% across his last two starts on the road before going home and allowing just one goal in two straight starts, winning both and posting a .970 Sv% in the process.
Needless to say, he’s feeling it entering this one.
The Blues have been playing with some heavy hearts of late after seeing teammate Jay Bouwmeester collapse on the bench in a postponed game in Anaheim last week.
That said, they’re coming off their first win since that episode with a thorough 3-0 win over the New Jersey Devils on home ice Tuesday, a game in which they surrendered all of 17 shots on goal.
Stout defense and shot-prevention is nothing new for this Blues back end despite missing a sound defender in Bouwmeester.
After posting the goose egg on Tuesday, the Blues sit sixth with just 2.37 goals against per game at home this season while their 27.8 shots against per game at home ranks them first in the league in that department.
They got away from their defensive nature in allowing 4.13 goals per game during an eight-game stretch in which they lost six times, but have clamped down much better over their last two games, surrendering just three goals and 41 total shots in that time.
Offensively, the Blues have handled themselves well in the near season-long absence of Vladimir Tarasenko.
They’ll enter this one ranked 15th with 3.30 goals per game at home this season and their power play sits 11th with a healthy 23.4% clip.
That power play is 0 for 5 over their last two games after going on a nice stretch, although their penalty kill has gone 5 for 5 to hold up its end of the bargain over their last two contests.
While not so much on the road, the Blues are one of the NHL’s very best possession teams on home ice where they’ve gone 19-6-5 on the season.
At 5v5 at home, St. Louis ranks sixth with a 54.44% Corsi For%, fifth with a 55.63% Scoring Chances For% and 10th with a 54.23% High-Danger Chances For%.
In terms of possession, this matchup isn’t even close.
Like the Coyotes, the Blues have received quality goaltending in this split and it will be Jordan Binnington getting the starting nod in this one.
It was Binnington who earned the 17-save shutout against the Devils on Tuesday to bounce back from what has largely been a tough month of February that consisted of an .896 Sv% prior to that outing.
That said, his work at home has been stellar this season where he’s posted a 2.20 GAA and .921 Sv% in 26 starts and also where both of his shutouts have come on the season.
We witnessed last season Binnington catching fire and stifling offenses all over the place, and if Tuesday’s rebound effort was indeed the start of another hot stretch, this low-scoring Coyotes offense could be in trouble.
Binnington allowed two goals on 22 shots (.909 Sv%) in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Coyotes at home back on November 12th in his lone outing against them this season.
When I first looked at this game, I liked the Blues, but I didn’t want to lay all that juice on the moneyline.
So, I turned my attention to the three-way moneyline where they sit at -130, but I’m still having trouble finding some value in those odds.
Then, I realized I’m having so much trouble finding that value because I’m not convinced the Blues can generate enough offense to win this one in regulation.
I mean, it’s certainly possible, but something tells me Raanta is going to be ready for this one tonight as he’s coming in hot despite some iffy work on the road earlier in the season.
The Blues scored three on a very poor Devils road defense on Tuesday, but they scored two or fewer in five of eight games prior to Tuesday.
Of course, I documented the Coyotes’ struggles on offense that have been going on for much of the season, especially on the road and especially at 5v5.
Combine that with the fact that Binnington has been excellent at home and coming off a shutout effort, and I’m not convinced in the least that the Coyotes are going to be able to significant offense going, either.
Therefore, I’ve landed on what I believe will be a low-scoring affair.
The 5.5 total is lower by today’s standards and it’s heavily favored at -127, but I can easily see this one being a 2-1, 3-1 game for one of these teams.
If I’m wrong, so be it, but to me most signs are pointing towards a low-scoring affair, so give me the under 5.5 at -127.