It was a nice start to the month of February last night as we nailed our first and only pick of the month so far.
We had the Flames as -118 moneyline favorites in that one, but it looked like we were bound for more bad luck when the Jets’ Mark Scheifele tied the game with less than two minutes to go in regulation, sending it to overtime.
Fortunately, the overtime period went scoreless before Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan’s shootout goals capped a 4-3 victory for the road side.
It was nice to bag the winner, now let’s look to get a hot stretch going with this Coyotes vs. Blues NHL pick from St. Louis!
- Season Record: 9-15
- Units: -7.04
Coyotes vs. Blues Betting Odds
- Coyotes (+138)
- Blues (-153)
- Coyotes +1.5 (-177)
- Blues -1.5 (+157)
- Over 5.5 (+124)
- Under 5.5 (-137)
Coyotes vs. Blues NHL Pick Breakdown
We knew the ‘Yotes would struggle to score goals this season, and that’s certainly been the case so far.
Their 2.50 goals per game on the season ranks them 24th in the league and their power play sits 17th at 18.8%. That’s fair enough.
What’s interesting is the fact they also rank sixth in scoring chances for/60 and high-danger chances for/60 as well as second in the league in expected goals for/60 at 5v5 this season, as per Natural Stat Trick. Their 1.99 goals/60 on the season at 5v5 sits well under their 2.67 expected mark. Certainly didn’t see that coming.
The Coyotes have actually received fairly balanced scoring up front with Christian Dvorak, Conor Garland, Nick Schmaltz, Phil Kessel and Derek Brassard all with at least five points in eight games this season. The team was going to need scoring from up and down their lineup to make any sort of noise this season and that’s been the case so far.
Despite the fabulous advanced metrics, the Coyotes have scored two goals or less in four of their eight games on the season and have been shut out in two of their last three games with their power play clicking at 10% in that time.
We’ll see if they can catch up to their lofty metrics moving forward.
The Coyotes have been one of the better defenses in the NHL over the last couple of seasons, and they’ve been good once again this time around.
Their 2.63 goals per game on the season ranks 10th and their 79.3% penalty kill is a middle-of-the-pack number at 15th league wide.
When the team tied for the third-best defense in the league last season, they sported peripherals that suggested they should have been much closer to the middle of the pack, but the club got outstanding goaltending that helped bail them out.
It’s been more of the same this season. At 5v5, they rank 24th in scoring chances against/60, 22nd in high-danger chances against/60 and 21st in expected goals against/60. They haven’t benefited from elite-level goaltending early on and the defensive numbers have slipped a little bit.
The team continues to be without Oliver Ekman-Larsson on the blueline due to a lower-body injury, and while head coach Rick Tocchet said his star defender is feeling better, he remains without a target date for his return.
Rookie Jordan Gross has been thrust inaction action for the last two games as a result, but it’s certainly a thinner back end at this juncture, and one that hasn’t exactly been stout in preventing chances this season.
As noted, the ‘Yotes received some of the best goaltending in the NHL last season between Darcy Kuemper, Antti Raanta and Adin Hill.
This season, it’s been Kuemper’s show almost entirely as he’s made seven of the team’s eight starts this season and is again the confirmed starter for this one tonight.
On the heels of a season that saw him post a 2.22 GAA and .928 Sv% across 29 starts due to injury and the shortened season, Kuemper will enter this one sporting a 2.44 GAA and .910 Sv% across seven outings.
He’s allowed just six goals over his last four starts, and despite allowing two on just 16 shots his last time out, Kuemper owns a .939 Sv% over his last four starts, but has just two wins to show for it due to a lack of offensive support.
In seven career starts against the Blues, Kuemper has posted a 2.40 GAA and .926 Sv% and has gone 3-2-0 in his seven decisions lifetime against St. Louis.
The Blues added Mike Hoffman late in the offseason to help solidify an offense that finished in the middle of the pack last season, and despite Hoffman’s quiet start, the Blues are off to a fine start on offense.
They’ll enter this one ranked ninth with 3.44 goals per game on the season, but a power play that ranked third overall a season ago has struggled to a 14.8% mark on the new season, good for 22nd league wide at this point.
One of the bigger surprises up front this season has been the emergence of youngster Jordan Kyrou. After scuffling to produce consistently at the NHL level despite his lofty prospect status, Kyrou has taken off this season, tallying five goals and 10 points in nine games. Kyrou, Brayden Schenn and David Perron are all at a point-per-game or better in the early going.
The Blues haven’t dominated the 5v5 metrics, however. They rank 20th in scoring chances/60, 25th in high-danger chances for/60, and 21st in expected goals/60. Their 3.71 goals/60 at 5v5 is well above their 2.03 expected mark, however, so we should expect some regression from this offense moving forward.
The reason for the high-octane start on offense would be a second-ranked 5v5 high-danger shooting rate and a league-high 13.20% mark at 5v5 overall.
There was some notable turnover on the Blues’ defense corps over the offseason.
Of course, No. 1 blueliner Alex Pietrangelo bolted for Vegas in free agency while reliable veteran Jay Bouwmeester was forced to retire after suffering a cardiac episode in a game last season in Anaheim.
Power play specialist Torey Krug was brought in on the open market, but Roberto Bortuzzo is on IR at the moment while rookie Niko Mikkola has appeared in five games in his stead on the right side of the bottom pair.
The results have been strong nonetheless. The Blues might rank 21st in overall defense, but plenty of that has to do with a penalty kill that sits 26th at 70.7% for the season.
At 5v5, the Blues rank fifth in scoring chances against/60, fourth in high-danger chances against/60 and sixth in expected goals against/60. Their 2.14 actual goals against/60 at 5v5 is above their 1.86 expected mark at the moment.
It’s certainly a Blues defense that had their way with the low-scoring Ducks in their two-game set over the weekend, holding Anaheim to just one goal in each of those two games, but also just 25 shots per game as well.
We’ll see if they can take care of another anemic offense in this one tonight.
The Blues traded Jake Allen and his hefty price tag for a backup to the Montreal Canadiens in the offseason, a move that put increased pressure on Jordan Binnington to regain his Stanley Cup-winning form with rookie Ville Husso as his new backup.
It wasn’t a pretty start for Binnington as he allowed four goals in two of his first three outings, but has since been largely excellent. The 27-year-old has worked to a .939 Sv% over his last four outings, allowing just a single goal in two of those contests.
For the season, Binnington owns a 2.49 GAA and .918 Sv% across seven starts, going 5-1-1 in the process. Four of those five wins have come in regulation time.
He’s also dominated the Coyotes across four career starts against them, posting a 0.99 GAA with a .949 Sv%, but somehow is just 2-1-1 in that time.
Coyotes vs. Blues NHL Pick
After losing four of five, the Coyotes got back in the W column via a 3-2 win over the Ducks on Thursday, they’ve been off since and should be well-rested for this one.
The Blues played back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday, but are hot with three straight wins and four wins over their last five games after a fairly uneven start to their season.
As much as those advanced offensive metrics suggest the Coyotes scoring more at even strength moving forward, this is a difficult matchup to get that part of their game going. The Blues have been a stout even-strength defense and while the penalty kill needs to be cleaned up, they did go 4 for 5 agaisnt the Ducks over the weekend in that department.
This is going to be a Coyotes offense that will finishing in the bottom 10 in the league at the end of the day. It’s a Blues defense that should shoot up the rankings moving forward while it’s a deep forward group, even without the continued absence of sniper Vladimir Tarasenko.
Add it up and I’m not going to get fancy here, but rather take the superior team to win this one in regulation time on the 3-way moneyline this evening.