Wild vs. Blues Pick – NHL April 24th

The Tampa Bay Lightning saved their year last night, and the Detroit Red Wings may have thrown theirs away. Thanks to a furious comeback by the Lightning, getting two goals late, and then getting an OT goal from Tyler Johnson to send this thing back to Tampa all tied up in the series. Johnson made a marvelous play to make it 2-1 late in the 3rd, sniping it over the shoulder of Mrazek while driving towards the net. That is a tough one to swallow for the Wings. That isn’t on the same level as the Leafs blowing a three goal lead against the Bruins a couple seasons ago in game 7, but that collapse may have just cost the Wings the series. If it wasn’t for Mrazek to begin with, and Ben Bishop wasn’t a moron, I don’t even know if this game would have been as close as it was. The Lightning had many good scoring chances in that game, which finally paid off late when it mattered most. The flight to Tampa probably isn’t going to be a pleasant one for the Wings. This series is tied up but the gap feels much bigger than that. I will say one thing, if you want one coach in your corner after a loss like that, it is Mike Babcock. We’ll have to see what he has in store when these two teams meet again for a critical game 6.

The continuation of that series will have to wait for another night, but there are still some good ones going off tonight. The Montreal Canadiens will have a chance to move on in another elimination game for the Senators, the Rangers will have the same honors as well, and then in St. Louis the Blues look to build off a big win on the road in game 5. The situation was looking pretty dire for the Blues before that particular game, but they absolutely steamrolled the Wild to tie the series up. They went on to take care of them by a score of 6-1. A pretty predictably tight series playing out, with each team taking turns throwing a blow to one another. I see 7 games on the horizon for this series. Can the Blues protect home tonight? Find out my thoughts by reading below.

Minnesota Wild @ St. Louis Blues

If you’re a Blues fan you are probably thinking oh god not again. The Blues had an excellent season a year ago, but got bounced in the first round against the Blackhawks. Again this season they put together a terrific campaign, but here we are wondering if they have what it takes to move on to the next round. Unlike last season though, the Blues can’t blame it on injuries if they go on to lose the series. They were dealt a series of blows on the injury front then, but with a much healthier roster today, losing to the Wild would provide the Blues with no excuses this time around. There isn’t much in general that separates the Wild and Blues from one another. Statistically they line up about the same, the W/L ratio is about even, the series is tied up, and then when you watch them on the ice the equal level of talent is evident.

You have to look at the varying scenarios in every series when making a pick, and in this one, it speaks true more than ever. Like I said I think this series is going 7 games. There probably aren’t a lot of people that think otherwise. The Wild were able to bet the Avalanche last year in 7 games in overtime. I see a similar scenario playing out with it coming down to the end with a bounce here or there ultimately deciding the winner. Tonight I think the home team prevails, with the Wild forcing a game 7 in game 6. I am sure the Blues are more than motivated enough to try and make sure something like last years episode doesn’t replay in 2015. I think it is going to be closer than last game, but I am going to take the Blues to come out on top.