The Detroit Red Wings head to St. Louis after defeating the LA Kings last night at home in downtown Detroit. It was a nice 3-2 win for the Red Wings, who need a couple more of those against quality opponents to get the momentum going in their favor. They have a great opportunity to beat another good team tonight in St. Louis. It’s still pretty early on what to make of the Red Wings, I’m not sure where they fall in the spectrum. They have their nights like last night against the Kings, and then they look nothing like the same team on other occasions. It explains why they have 9-8-2 record. There is the good Red Wings half of the time. Datsyuk made a late appearance this season due to an injury and thus far has 1 assist. He is great on both ends of the ice, and his presence even gives the defense a boost. By the looks of it Jimmy Howard will be getting the nod for the Wings tonight. The Red Wings have a couple of solid netminders in Howard and Peter Mrazek. The Wings are afforded the ability to play them on a rotation type basis.
Mrazek got the win last night, and it’ll be up to Howard to keep it going against the Blues. The Blues instill a similar plan with the goalie rotation, between Brian Elliot and Jake Allen. Allen playing the better of the two this season. Later in the season when the games start to get more important, you’re going to be seeing a lot of him and less Elliot. Rotating goalies right now isn’t a bad idea, as teams get to keep some fresh legs in net. I don’t know if goaltending has ever been the problem for the Blues, rather choking in the playoffs is a reappearing theme in St. Louis. One of their prized possessions that they obtained from the Colorado Avalanche a year ago, Paul Stastny, has been out since October with a foot injury. His return to the lineup is unclear. That is a lot of money sitting there and doing nothing for the Blues, a player they were hoping that would get the offense going. And he did last season, but his absence this year hurts the Blues. The Blues had the night off after a shootout win over the Sabres Thursday night. The Wings will be playing back-to-back here tonight after their win over the Kings last night.
Detroit Red Wings vs. St. Louis Blues NHL Pick
The Wings win when they get into a low scoring stuck in the mud kind of game. They don’t have the offense to win any kind of high scoring game. For all of the offensive players that have come through Detroit over the years, this is a team primarily based on defense. Pavel Datsyuk is crafty with the puck on his stick, but he is actually more valuable defensively. Datsyuk is a three-time winner of the Selke award, which is given to the best defensive forward in the NHL. As he gets older, I think we’re going to see more defensive Datsyuk than offensive. The Red Wings have averaged just 2.25 goals per game this season, 26th in the NHL.
But when the defense is playing well, some games will be won. Mrazek stopped 35 shots in the win last night. The Blues are 16th in the NHL, averaging 2.65 goals per game. They also have a top 10 defense ranked 9th in the league. Jake Allen has a terrific GAA of 1.91. Note that at home, his GAA is a small 1.69. The Red Wings and Blues have played one another tight in recent memory. Four of their last six games have resulted in 1 goal games. Additionally, the last five between the Red Wings and Blues have all gone UNDER the number. The Wings are 12-4 to the UNDER this season. Likewise, the Blues are 10-7. It seems like a low scoring one to me tonight in St. Louis.
PICK: UNDER 5 GOALS (-110)