Game: St. Louis Blues @ Colorado Avalanche
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Odds: Blues +215, Avalanche -245
Colorado can eliminate St. Louis tonight and become the second NHL team to punch its ticket to the conference finals. There is a lot going for the Avalanche, who have been the favorite to win this year’s Stanley Cup since before the season began. Now, they are on the brink of the Western Conference finals for the first time in 20 years. The Avs last played in a conference final in 2002 (against Detroit).
The Avalanche won Game 4 by a score of 6-3 getting the first career playoff hat trick by Nazem Kadri. It was a defining moment for Kadri, who collided with Blues goalie Jordan Binnington in Game 3. The collision resulted in a knee injury for Binnington and he is out for the series. Kadri was receiving death threats ever since. Coming back to record a hat trick was just what he and the Avs needed.
That Game 4 victory now gives Colorado 10 wins over St. Louis in the last 11 postseason meetings. That has to account for some form of mental edge heading into what could be a deciding Game 5. Add in the fact that Binnington is out and it’s easy to see why Colorado is such a huge favorite tonight.
Colorado also plays well at home. The Avs tied for the best home record this season at 34-7-0. They won all of their first-round playoff games at home. St. Louis, behind a great performance by Binnington, was able to steal Game 2 from the Avs which is the only home playoff loss for Colorado. The Avalanche then stormed back to win both games in St. Louis and win them both by three goals.
Binnington’s replacement Ville Husso played well during the regular season, but he is having a hard time duplicating that performance. In the first game of this year’s playoffs, Husso shut out the Minnesota Wild. Since then, he’s lost four straight starts. That is another key factor in why Colorado is so heavily favored tonight.
The Blues have shown some heart in the series. They have actually scored the first goal of the game in each of the first four games. The problem for St. Louis is that they simply cannot keep up with Colorado. In each of the last two games, the Blues cut the Avs’ lead to one heading into the third period. In both games, St. Louis was outscored 2-0 in the final period.
Despite their two losses at home, St. Louis is 10-3 SU in their last 13 games on the road. Colorado matches that record at home. The Avs are 10-3 SU in their last 13 home games. They are also 7-1 SU in their last eight games overall. Colorado is 7-2 SU in its last nine games at home against St. Louis.
Colorado averaged 4.15 goals per game at home this season. Four of their last six games have gone Over the total. That includes the last two games of the series. In the last ten games between the Blues and Avs, the Over is 8-2.