Two of the best teams in the NHL’s Western Conference do battle, as the Colorado Avalanche and St. Louis do battle in the round-robin portion of the reboot. The Blues will (sort of) defend their Stanley Cup title from last season when they defeated the Boston Bruins in seven games during the 2019 Finals.
The round-robin tournaments include the top four seeds in each conference; at the conclusion, the winner will have the No. 1 seed in the conference. This is a chance for the top teams to sharpen their skills while the rest of the league fights to actually make it into the playoffs.
One of these two teams could very well be representing the West in the Stanley Cup Finals. This is a great way to get higher seeding underway and see who truly deserves it.
St. Louis Blues at Colorado Avalanche
West Qualifying Round Robin
6:30 p.m. EST (Watch: NBCSN)
STL: Jordan Binnington (30-17-7, 2.56 GAA/.912 SV% this season)
COL: Philipp Grubauer (18-12-4, 2.63 GAA/.916 SV% this season)
Odds & Betting lines (William Hill)
Total: 5.5 goals | Over: -105 | Under: -115
STL | Moneyline: +100 | Puck Line (+1.5): – 260
COL | Moneyline: -120 | Puck Line (-1.5): +230
COL: Andre Burakovsky -F (DTD), Samuel Girard -D (DTD)
These two teams have drastically different styles, with the Avalanche being more of a high-scoring team and the Blues focusing more on defense. Nathan MacKinnon had a whopping 93 points (35 G, 58 A) to lead Colorado while Ryan O’Reilly was the leading point-getter, with 61 (12 G, 49 A) for St. Louis.
During the regular season, the teams split the season series 2-2 but the Avalanche were on top 15-14 in aggregate score. If you were looking to get a glimpse of this matchup on the regular-season meetings, good luck – you’re not going to find much.
Binnington’s Struggles vs. Avalanche
Binnington started all four games against the Avalanche this season, going 2-2 with a 3.98 GAA and .857 SV%. The 14 goals he allowed were, by far, the most he allowed to an opponent this season.
Over 5.5 Goals (-105)
There are two major factors that should contribute to a high-scoring game tonight. For starters, three of the four regular season meetings between the teams have resulted in the total going over. After the new year, the Avalanche seemed to have figured something out offensively, scoring 12 of the 15 total goals in those last two meetings.
Whatever the case is, Colorado seem to bring out the best in St. Louis offensively. The Blues’ power play succeeded 24.3% of the time during the regular season – third best in the NHL. The Avalanche weren’t necessarily a heavily penalized team (ranking middle of the pack) but the refs have been calling a ton of penalties in these first few games.
At the end of the day, the combo of Colorado’s potent offense and the power play of St. Louis should certainly get this total where we need it to go – upwards. We are also getting nice value on the juice, which is almost even-money.