NHL Predictions: Minnesota vs St. Louis Futures
Stanley Cup Betting fans sure are getting their money’s worth from the free nhl picks we give out here at Capperspicks.com. There are now sixteen teams competing for Lord Stanley’s Cup. Stick with us for the entire 2015 NHL Stanley Cup playoff run.
NHL Playoffs Betting
Thursday, April 16 @ St. Louis, 9:30 pm EST, NBCSN
Saturday, April 18 @ St. Louis, 3 pm EST, NBC
Monday, April 20 @ Minnesota, 8 pm EST, CNBC
Wednesday, April 22 @ Minnesota, 9:30 pm EST, NBCSN
Friday, April 24 @ St. Louis (if necessary), TBA
Sunday, April 26 @ Minnesota (if necessary), TBA
Wednesday, April 29 @ St. Louis (if necessary), TBA
Series Playoff Odds
Wild vs. Blues Odds to Win Seven-Game Series
Minnesota +210, St. Louis -270
Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk. Holy cow. Talk about catching lightning in a bottle.
He came over to the Twin Cities and turned the pro representation from “The State of Hockey” into a contender. Sure, Zach Parise had a nice season, and Ryan Suter is a reliable veteran on the back end – but the Wild are in the postseason because of Dubnyk.
He faces his stiffest test yet since coming over from Edmonton. The Blues are a very good team, their 109 points in the regular season tied with Anaheim for tops in the Western Conference.
St. Louis was an excellent team last year, and Russian phenom Vladimir Tarasenko might have been the piece that finally puts the Blues over the top.
Tarasenko’s excellence – 37 goals and 73 points attest to that – has led to breakout years from other players. Winger Jaden Schwartz has been awesome with 63 points.
Plus, St. Louis still has its characteristic balance throughout the lineup; nine players posted more than 40 points during the 2014-15 regular season.
Did you think there was a “but” coming? There sort of is.
But the Blues’ shortcoming is similar to Detroit’s, in that they have a two-headed monster at goaltender, and both of them may falter in the postseason.
Jake Allen will start Game 1 for St. Lou, although Brian Elliott posted the superior stats. With such a well-rounded team, a goalie’s deficiencies can be somewhat masked, but it still must be a nagging worry in the back of affable coach Ken Hitchcock’s mind.
As a goalie, it must be easy to feel confident with defensemen Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk in front of you – they are both premium players at their position, about to enter their primes.
Even if Allen or Elliott have some hiccups, it will be an exhausting series for Minnesota. The Wild are a grinding team and they need a goaltender to be on his game (Dubnyk = check) to be playing their best.
Minnesota is never going to score you out of the building.
Parise leads the charge, evidenced by his 33 goals. The team leader had a difficult calendar year with the loss of his father, former NHLer J.P. Parise. It would be a lovely story if Zach could bring home a Cup for his family.
The Wild are also buoyed by the league’s best penalty-kill unit, which holds up over 86 percent of the time. Throw in the white-hot Dubnyk between the pipes, and Minnesota certainly don’t look like a pushover.
Secondary scoring from the Wild must come from experienced vet Jason Pominville, Charlie Coyle and Jason Zucker.
Ice-time eating Suter highlights the defensemen, but young Matt Dumba is also a developing stud. Jared Spurgeon and Jonas Brodin are also rocks back there.
The Blues seem to always go into the postseason as a favorite, only to disappoint in the opening or second rounds. This is a really good team with the added offensive pizzazz of Tarasenko, so could this finally be the year?
If it isn’t, the Blues could be in danger of becoming the latest iteration of the San Jose Sharks from a few years ago – a fantastic regular-season hockey club that cannot make hay when it matters the most.
This is a tricky series to call. It seems like it could be one where whomever emerges victorious really had to labor to get into the second round. It should take a lot out of all the combatants, even by gruelling NHL Playoffs standards.
I’ll call Blues in seven, but if Dubnyk continues to be as hot as he’s been, that could flip the narrative totally.
4* Prediction: Blues in seven