Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues will meet in the NHL 2021-22 playoffs on Monday evening. The home side entered a winning streak, and they hope to continue it in the post-season. The visitors look forward to bouncing back after their recent failures and booking a valuable victory on the road.
Minnesota has been running hot recently, and the hosts are full of confidence ahead of this tie. They will have the home-ice advantage in this series, and they want to keep it intact. On the other hand, St. Louis Blues haven’t played well lately, and they don’t want to continue that run. The away side hopes for a positive result at the start of the playoffs and a much better display than the latest one.
Minnesota Wild – Can they continue running hot?
The Wild can be very satisfied with their recent form since the hosts booked ten victories on the previous 12 occasions. That run saw them finishing 2nd in the Central Division with a 53-22-7 record, which secured them the home-ice advantage in this tie. Minnesota heads to this series after two straight wins, and the latest one came against the Colorado Avalanche 4-1. Despite having just 22 shots – six fewer than their rivals – the Wild was very disciplined in defense. Marc-Andre Fleury commanded Minnesota’s defense with an excellent .964 save percentage.
Kirill Kaprizov tops the most important offensive charts for the Wild in the regular season, with 47 goals and 61 assists. He produced a total of 108 points, while Kevin Fiala contributed with 85 pts. Mats Zuccarello is one point away from the 80-point mark, while Ryan Hartman has 65 pts. Also, four other skaters have chipped in with 40+ points for the Wild’s offense in the regular season. On the other hand, Cam Talbot has the most appearances between the pipes, averaging a .911 save percentage and allowing 2.77 goals per contest.
Expected Line-Up: Marc-Andre Fleury, Jonas Brodin, Alex Goligoski, Kevin Fiala, Ryan Hartman, Kirill Kaprizov
with best odds
St. Louis Blues – Will they stop losing?
The Blues closed the regular season with two straight defeats that saw them stay in 3rd place in the Central Division with a 49-22-11 record. They will try to replicate their previous winning run, during which they celebrated 12 times in 13 matches. In the most recent game, St. Louis lost to the Vegas Golden Knights 7-4 on the home ice. They were completely outclassed in that encounter, having only 18 attempts compared to the opponent’s 45. Nevertheless, the Blues showed good composure, but their defense was simply not good enough.
Vladimir Tarasenko has led the Blues’ offense in the regular season with 82 points, being the team’s top scorer at the same time with 34 goals. Robert Thomas tops the assists charts with 57 while contributing with a total of 77 points. Pavel Buchnevich and Jordan Kyrou are also in the 70s, while Ivan Barbashev reached the 60-point mark. Ryan O’Reilly and Brayden Schenn have chipped in with 58 pts each, while four other skaters have produced 40 or more points. On the goal, Ville Husso and Jordan Binnington split their time between the pipes, having a .912 save percentage.
Expected Line-Up: Ville Husso, Torey Krug, Colton Parayko, Ivan Barbashev, Pavel Buchnevich, Jordan Kyrou
Expert Pick #1 – Over 6 @-135
It is the clash between the two efficient teams, and they should continue in the same fashion in the post-season as well. Six of the last Wild’s games went over the margin, while the Over cashed four times in the Blues’ previous five. Give me the Over as the first pick.
Expert Pick #2 – Blues to win (Inc. OT and Pen.) @+120
If I should search for an upset, this match is a perfect candidate for that. Although Minnesota has been excellent and has the home-ice advantage, they were not very successful against St. Louis lately. The visitors managed to celebrate five times in a row, while they lost to the Wild just once in their last ten h2h encounters. Therefore, I’ll back the Blues to win on the plus money odds as my second bet.
Expert Pick #3 – Blues Over 2.5 @-150
I already stated that the Blues have been pretty successful against Minnesota recently, and they might pick up where they left off. They found the back of the net at least three times in their previous 12 clashes, and I expect that streak to continue. That’s why I’ll take St Louis over a 2.5 margin as my third pick.