The St. Louis Blues have received an instant boost of revitalization in the past few games. The Blues slowly, but surely, got healthier and now they are almost at full-strength. Jaden Schwartz made his return to the lineup three nights ago and made his presence felt immediately, scoring a goal against the Florida Panthers right away. The Blues beat the Panthers 5-3 and then went on to win two more in a row. It’s imperative that the Blues stay healthy as we move closer to the spring. There is another important piece to the Blues puzzle that is just about ready to come back, defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. Alex has been on the shelf for the last two weeks and should be back in about a week. And with his return, we should see the Blues at full-strength. The Blues are 33-17-5 and avoided collapsing during the most troubling time of their season. They welcome a similar foe to St. Louis tonight, the LA Kings. In a lot of ways, the Kings and Blues are very similar. Style wise and statistically. Note that the Kings are 33-20-1, nearly on par with the Blues.
The Kings happily welcomed Jonathan Quick back last game against the Capitals. Even though the Kings lost the game, 3-1, they will need him to succeed in the postseason. There was some rust to be had for Quick last outing. The Blues beat three very good teams the past three matchups, defeating the Panthers, Lightning, and Stars. The Blues are definitely a team you want to keep an eye on for the rest of the regular season. In the playoffs? The Blues are one of those teams who find the postseason treacherous, but staying healthy will assist them tremendously. The injury bug always seems to hit them at the wrong time, maybe they got it out of the way already in 2015-16. The Kings will look to get back in the win column tonight after dropping two in a row, while the Blues look to add to a three-game win streak.
L.A. Kings vs. St. Louis Blues NHL Pick
This has been a treacherous stretch for the Kings. They have already played five straight games on the road, and now they have their sixth in a row on the road against the hot St. Louis Blues. The Kings are 2-3, beating the Rangers and Bruins. L.A. has been on the road for eight of their last ten games. That kind of schedule will wear you down, all you want is home after so much traveling. They’ve gone 4-6 in their last ten games. The Kings recently suffered a huge a sizable blow on the offensive end, as Marian Gaborik was sent to the IR due on February 13th. They have gone 0-2 since he’s been out, scoring only 1 goal. This isn’t going to be a short-term problem for the Kings, Gaborik is going to be gone for the rest of the regular season with a potential return in the playoffs.
The road isn’t a good place for the Kings to mismatch lines up and experiment. Not against the Capitals and Blues. Gaborik sent the Kings’ offense over the top when they acquired him in the middle of the season two years ago. Now they’ll need to find their way without him. The Blues have gone 5-1-1 in the month of February. Brian Elliot has been playing lights out hockey in net, posting a 2.03 GAA. He has been a rock against the Kings, with a 2.06 GAA throughout his career in 10 appearances. This looks like a good spot for the Blues to keep things hot and catching the Kings in what I see is tough sledding for them ahead.
PICK: BLUES TO WIN -115