The St. Louis Blues responded the way we hoped they would in Game 4, holding the Jets without a shot in the first 11 minutes while firing 8 of their own at Connor Hellebuyck. Unfortunately for the Blues, they weren’t able to capitalize offensively in the opening period (resulting in a push on our Blues First Period Moneyline wager) and went on to lose 2-1 in OT, setting up what should be a great Game 5 tomorrow night in Winnipeg with the series knotted 2-2.
The big news of the night, of course, was the stunningly early departure of the Lightning — with the Islanders’ sweep of the Penguins not far behind. It’s just another reminder of how anything really can happen in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, especially in a year where the standings were so tightly bunched.
Tonight, three series resume with the Leafs, Predators and Avalanche all looking to take 3-1 series leads. Our only play of the day comes in Denver, where we’re looking for the Flames to bring a much better defensive effort after Monday’s humiliating loss. Good luck on whatever you play!
Odds below are at the time we made the pick.
You wouldn’t know it by the 56 shots and 6 goals they allowed Monday, but the Flames’ strength on the road this season has been their defensive play. Despite averaging a full goal less per game offensively on the road, Calgary went 24-16-2 in enemy territory this year by limiting their hosts to less than 2.5 goals per contest. Following their embarrassing effort in Game 3, expect the Flames to emphasize limiting the number of pucks that get fired at poor old Mike Smith tonight and get back to the form that saw them hold 23 of their last 27 opponents to 3 goals or less.
While the Flames look to pick their socks back up defensively, Colorado just needs to keep doing what it’s been doing for more than a month. The Avs have allowed 2 goals or less in 8 of their last 10 home games (excluding empty netters), and in 13 of their last 17 overall. Philipp Grubauer has been in an absolute zone since early January, not allowing more than 3 goals in a game since January 5 and posting save percentages of .928 or higher in each of the past four months.
Calgary’s scored eight goals in the first three games of this series, only three of which were at even strength (four power-play and one empty-netter). The pressure of trying to avoid a 1-3 series hole doesn’t help a struggling attack break out either, as star players start trying to do more individually instead of relying on their teammates as they have all year. We don’t see both teams in this game getting to 3 goals, and we don’t see either team exploding offensively either. That usually spells Under.
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