Colorado Avalanche will host the St. Louis Blues in Game 1 of the NHL Western Conference semi-finals. The hosts want to continue their positive streak in the playoffs and start the new series with a win. The away side has also enjoyed a good form lately, and they will try to stun their rivals.
Colorado was the most convincing team in the first round of the playoffs, and they aim for the Stanley Cup this season. However, a long road is still ahead of them, but they want to take another step further on this journey. On the other hand, St. Louis has entered a winning streak that they wish to prolong. Nevertheless, it’s going to be a challenging task.
Colorado Avalanche – Can they remain unbeatable in the playoffs
The Avalanche made just four steps to reach the conference semi-finals, as they didn’t allow the Nashville Predators a single win. Therefore, they had a long eight-day break before this encounter. Game 2 was the closest match of that series since Colorado celebrated a 2-1 overtime win, but all others were the Avs’ comfortable wins. In the most recent one, they booked a 5-3 road victory, thanks to an excellent display in the last ten minutes of the encounter. Colorado was 3-2 down in the final period, but they scored three goals to secure another success.
Cale Makar has been the most productive player in the Avs’ offense with a total of ten points, including a team-high seven assists. Nathan MacKinnon tops Colorado’s scoring charts with five goals and six pts, while Gabriel Landeskog has also collected six points in the post-season. Mikko Rantanen and Devon Toews have contributed to the Avs’ offense with five pts each, while four other skaters have chipped in with three points apiece. On the other hand, Darcy Kuemper has enjoyed most of the action between the pipes with three appearances, having a .934 save percentage and allowing only 1.63 goals per match.
Expected Line-Up: Pavel Francouz, Erik Johnson, Cale Makar, Nazem Kadri, Andre Burakovsky, Nathan MacKinnon
with best odds
St. Louis Blues – Are they capable of producing an upset?
The Blues faced the strong Minnesota Wild in the first playoff round and booked a ticket for the conference semi-finals after six games. Although they were 2-1 down in the series, the visitors tied three wins to continue their campaign. In their latest encounter, St. Louis managed to control the game and beat their rivals 5-1 at home. The Blues were 4-0 up at the beginning of the final period, and it was clear they would continue their winning streak. They fired one shot more to the opponent’s net than their rivals and also won five faceoffs more.
David Perron has been the most efficient skater for the Blues in the post-season, being the best assistant with four, and totaling nine points. Ryan O’Reilly has contributed to St. Louis’s offense with eight pts, while Vladimir Tarasenko has six. Jordan Kyrou, Colton Parayko, Pavel Buchnevich, and Justin Faulk have four pts apiece, while five other players have collected three points each. Regarding the goaltending, Ville Husso and Jordan Binnington have split their time between the pipes and combined for a .924 save percentage.
Expected Line-Up: Ville Husso, Torey Krug, Colton Parayko, Ivan Barbashev, Pavel Buchnevich, Jordan Kyrou
Expert Pick #1 – Under 6.5 @+110
I’m attracted by the Under in this game since there could be rust for the hosts in this one. On the other hand, St. Louis will focus one defense on the road, and the plus money odds provide a great value for this pick. Therefore, I don’t think we’ll see more than six goals in this encounter.
Expert Pick #2 – St. Louis Blues +1.5 @-130
Consequently, it won’t be easy for the Avs in this one since their rivals have entered a great form. I’m not convinced if the Blues can win this one, but they shouldn’t lose by more than a goal. I’m dipping into the puck line market for my second bet.
Expert Pick #3 – Avalanche to win & Both to Score @-126
Colorado should pick up where it left off, but I don’t believe either side will keep the clean sheet in this encounter. The home side to win, followed by at least a goal in each net, will be my third pick for this matchup.