The Calgary Flames are the latest regular-season heavyweight to be reeling against the ropes in the Stanley Cup playoffs, joining the Lightning and Penguins. The eighth-seeded Avalanche dominated the top-seeded Flames last night, firing 56 shots at Mike Smith on their way to a 6-2 victory and a 2-1 series lead.
Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh, of course, could get sent home from the playoffs with a loss tonight. Both of those teams are obviously capable of reeling off 4 wins in a row and advancing to the second round, and we’ve seen two teams (Philadelphia in 2010 and Los Angeles in 2014) rally from similar 0-3 series deficits over the past decade alone. But when you’re the favourite and you’ve lost the first 3 games of a series, your biggest hurdle to overcome can often be your frustration. If the Lightning and/or Penguins don’t enjoy early success tonight or give up an early goal, it’s not hard to imagine one or both of them getting eliminated.
We split our plays yesterday for a small loss, winning the Leafs moneyline bet but hilariously off on the Caps Team Total Over 2.5. Outside of Ovechkin’s knockout of Svechnikov, there wasn’t much for Washington to be proud of as the Capitals were outshot 45-18 on the evening — including 30-8 over the final two periods.
Tonight, we’ve circled a nice spot in St. Louis to try to take advantage of, and also have an opinion on the Sharks/Knights affair. Thanks for reading, and good luck!
Odds below are at the time we made the pick.
We lost a play on the Blues First Period Moneyline in the opening game of this series, but we’re going to come back to it here in what looks like a great situational spot.
First, the numbers. As we noted in the writeup in Game 1, strong starts has keyed the Blues’ midseason turnaround. They’ve trailed going into the intermission just 20 times in 85 games this season, while carrying the lead to the locker room 34 times. And on the season at home, they’ve outscored opponents in the first period by a tally of 53-37 — including their 1-0 lead at the end of the first period in Game 3.
Now, the situation. St. Louis may have held the lead through 20 minutes on Sunday, but the Blues certainly didn’t deserve it. Winnipeg was the hungrier team from opening puck drop (hardly a surprise, given the Jets’ 0-2 hole coming in), recording 11 of the first 13 shots in the game and finishing the period with a 13-7 advantage in that department. The Blues were then outshot 12-6 in the second period before finally developing some desperation in their game for the third, outshooting Winnipeg 16-4 but failing to overcome a 3-1 deficit.
That ‘fat and happy’ feeling the Blues may have had coming into Game 3 is gone. We’re expecting to see much more intensity from St. Louis tonight, and the Blues’ tendency for strong first periods suggests it starts right away. (If you’re interested in the potential for a bigger return, Blues -0.5 in the first period is available at +164 odds at Pinnacle, +161 at BetOnline and +160 at 5Dimes.)
Bet this game at Pinnacle – The best NHL odds online!
Opinion > Golden Knights Team Total Over 3.5 +107