NHL Hockey Betting: St. Louis Blues at New York Rangers

NHL Hockey Betting:  St. Louis Blues at New York Rangers

NHL hockey returns after a night off for Halloween and at the top of the board is a East-West battle between the St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers. Both teams have been in decent form in the early going. St. Louis is currently in the rugged Central Division with a 5-2-2 record and are coming off a 1-0 win against the LA Kings. The Rangers are 6-3-0 in their first 9 games and a point behind Pittsburgh for the lead in the Metropolitan Division. At this point everyone in the league is looking up at the Montreal Canadiens who lead the East and have the best record in hockey at 8-0-1.

The Rangers are a funny team. In recent years they start playing well for a stretch and all of a sudden they’re hyped as Stanley Cup contenders. Yet they always hit a ‘wall’ and never live up to this potential. In many ways, the remind me of the Stockton/Malone era Utah Jazz in that they’re a great regular season team but never seem to ‘fire’ in the playoffs (the Jazz’s two trips to the NBA Finals notwithstanding). For that reason, I always operate under the assumption that the Rangers aren’t as good as we’re supposed to believe they are. They do get a boost here as forward Chris Kreider is listed as ‘probable’ after missing time with a neck injury.

The Blues’ biggest problem at this point is ‘gelling’ as a team after a leadership shake up in the off season. David Backes had been the Blues’ captain for five years and now he’s in Boston and defenseman Alex Pietrangelo is wearing the ‘C’. Pietrangelo is as solid a guy as you’ll find in the NHL and there’s every reason to expect that he’ll grow into the role. For now, however, he’s still finding the way. In general, however, St. Louis is still the same solid and well coached team they’ve always been. Jake Allen was given the starting gig in the offseason with Brian Elliott now playing Calgary. The ‘goalie tandem’ just doesn’t work in today’s game so that’s a good move for the team and for both players. The Blues’ backup is now Carter Hutton who played in Nashville for the past few years and performed admirably in relief of Pekka Rinne.

In most situations I try to play on the Western Conference team in non-conference games–and particularly as a dog. In all fairness, the Rangers have been one of the better Eastern performers against their West counterparts but no reason to abandon that concept here. Blues have been a great play with 2 or more days rest in recent years going 25-12 +8.2 units.