The St. Louis Blues skate north to take on the divisional-rival Minnesota Wild for Game 1 of their 1st-round Western Conference playoff series Monday. Puck drop from Xcel Energy Center is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. ET (ESPN+). Below, we look at the Blues vs. Wild odds and lines, and make our expert NHL picks, predictions and bets.
The Blues somewhat punted the last 2 games of the season as they really didn’t play with much vigor in a 5-3 loss at the Colorado Avalanche or a 7-4 defeat to the Vegas Golden Knights.
The Blues should provide some value in this series because they’re underdogs despite being the better team. They have won 12 of their last 14 against the Wild in the regular season and they’ll win this series in 6 games or fewer if they get solid goaltending.
The Wild played some of the best hockey in the league down the stretch to win home-ice advantage. Minnesota was 12-2-2 in April, but the 2 overtime losses were to St. Louis. However, the Wild were down 4-1 in the most recent one and came storming back to force OT before succumbing to the Blues’ offensive pressure. The Wild can use their struggles as a chip on their shoulder against the confident Blues.
Blues at Wild odds and lines
- Money line: Blues +120 (bet $100 to win $120) | Wild -145 (bet $145 to win $100)
- Against the spread (ATS): Blues +1.5 (-210) | Wild -1.5 (+160)
- Over/Under (O/U): 6.5 (O: -107 | U: -115)
Blues at Wild projected goalies
Ville Husso (25-7-6, 2.56 GAA, .919 SV%, 2 SO) vs. Marc-Andre Fleury (28-23-5, 2.90 GAA, .908 SV%, 4 SO)
The 27-year-old Husso has no playoff experience, but he had a monster season on his way to free agency. He was 7-1-2 with a 3.05 GAA and a .910 SV% in April. The Finnish netminder stopped 66 of 74 shots in his two wins against Minnesota this season with a .892 SV%. He needs to be average or a little above for the Blues to win the series.
Fleury is expected to get the start over G Cam Talbot, who had trouble with St. Louis during the regular season. Fleury was 0-3 against the Blues this season as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks as he stopped 93 of 103 shots for a .903 SV% and 3.36 GAA. The veteran goalie is 90-70 with a .912 SV% in the playoffs throughout his career.
The Blues could steal Monday’s game, but I think the Wild have the advantage. They played with a lot of heart down the stretch and didn’t cave under the pressure of being neck-and-neck with the Blues for home ice.
There are only a handful of players left from the Blues’ 18-19 Stanley Cup team. So there is some youth, especially in goal, and that may be enough for Minnesota to squeak by. I do think the Blues take 1 of the 2 opening games in Minnesota, but I’m more inclined to LEAN WILD (-145) in Game 1. Hold out until later in the day as 58% of the cash is on the Blues according to Pregame.com, which could bring the lines back in your favor a bit.
Against the spread
It’s hard to see the Wild winning by more than 1 goal as this game may need overtime to settle. PASS.
There were 38 goals scored in these two teams’ last 4 meetings. It’s somewhat surprising to see the juice on the Under. The Blues scored 4 or more goals in 12 straight games from March 28 to April 17, which was the eighth-longest streak in NHL history. They will score, but Minnesota is a physical team that grinds out wins. Take the OVER 6.5 (-107).