NHL Hockey Betting: St. Louis Blues at San Jose Sharks

NHL Hockey Betting:  St. Louis Blues at San Jose Sharks

A big sports day on Saturday with Nyquist going for the second leg of the Triple Crown in The Preakness and the St. Louis Blues trying to tie their Western Conference Final series against the San Jose Sharks. The Blues took a 2-1 victory in Game One but it’s been all San Jose ever since then. The Sharks outscored St. Louis by a combined margin of 7-0 in Games Two and Three. St. Louis is doing a decent job of limiting the Sharks’ offensive chances but San Jose is finding ways to score. And you don’t need to play with a high octane offense when your opponent hasn’t scored a goal in over 120 minutes of hockey.

It’s easy to blame St. Louis goalie Brian Elliott for poor play–notwithstanding the fact that no goalie can play well enough to overcome a team that can’t score–but there’s plenty of blame to go around. In Game Two he allowed three goals on 22 shots (the final Sharks score was a ENG) but two came on the power play. St. Louis was the #2 penalty kill team during the regular season to go along with the #6 power play. The Blues are now 1-9 for this series with a man advantage. The penalty kill did their job in Games One and Three holding the Sharks to 0-4 on the power play but that 2-5 Game Two meltdown was ugly. Elliott wasn’t very sharp in Game Three giving up 3 goals on 17 shots and getting replaced by Jake Allen late in the game. Allen may get the start here more as a way of ‘shaking things up’ than due to poor play by Elliott. My guess is that he’s getting frustrated at the lack of offensive support and that’s not a good mindset for a netminder.

We talk a lot about the Sharks’ home ice issues during the regular season but so far so good during the last two playoff rounds. They went 4-0 at home during the Nashville series but a lot of that has to be ‘credited’ to the erratic play of the Predators. But now they’ve won six straight home games during which they outscored opponents 24-7. If the Blues go down 3-1 with the way they’ve been playing their goose is cooked. Since 1982 only one team has come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a NHL Conference Finals series. Typically, teams in ‘must win’ situations are a ‘go against’ but that’s because the linesmaker usually inflates their price just for that reason. In this case, St. Louis is a nice value.