St. Louis Blues vs. Chicago Blackhawks NHL Odds Preview

Posted by Aaron . on April 11, 2016 in

The Central Division’s second-place (St. Louis) and third-place (Chicago) teams meet in the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs, with the series set to open Wednesday night in St. Louis. These are two of the best teams in the league, which means that a serious contender for the Cup is going to go home after the first round. The Blackhawks are the defending Stanley Cup champions, but with the exception of Patrick Kane, a lot of their stars are now elsewhere in the league, thanks to the unforgiving salary cap. The Blues come into this series having made a reputation for losing in the first round. Can Ken Hitchcock guide his team further, or even to Cup glory, as he did with the Dallas Stars in 1998-99?

St. Louis Blues vs. Chicago Blackhawks NHL Odds Preview


Stanley Cup Playoffs Game 1

Date/Time: Wednesday, April 13, 7:30 PM
Location: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Missouri
Opening Money Line: Chicago -120
TV: FS-MW, NBCSN, TVAS, SN360

Why should you bet on the Chicago Blackhawks to win?

 

Momentum is huge in the Stanley Cup playoffs, and if the Blackhawks can swipe Game 1 in St. Louis, with Keith on the shelf, then the momentum will all be in the Windy City. The Blues have not yet shown that they can maintain solid play through a playoff series. Just look back to last year, when the Blues went up 2-0 in their playoff series with Chicago, only to see the Blackhawks knock out four wins in a row to eliminate St. Louis. Artemi Panarin is just the newest of a legion of heroes in Chicago, and if he and other newcomers can pick up the confidence in the organization, this will be long series for the Blues.

 

Why should you put your money on the St. Louis Blues to win?

The Blackhawks will not have defenseman Duncan Keith (suspension) on their blue line for Game 1. The Blues could go with four scoring lines in this game and make the Blackhawks pay over and over again. The Blackhawks rode their defense to the Cup last year, but the Blues have strong depth on their own blue line as well as at forward, and they could keep pounding the Blackhawks until they break. Corey Crawford returns to the Blackhawks’ goal having basically one game in the last month, having missed time with an upper-body injury. His one game back was an overtime loss to the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets. In his last five games, he has permitted 17 goals and only posted an .873 save percentage. The Blues need to keep peppering him with shots.

Expert Pick and Final Series Prediction

I think this is going to be a terrific series, with the two teams trading punches like a pair of prizefighters. It’s hard to eliminate the defending champ, especially when you don’t have a tradition of playoff success. I like the fact that the Blues are playing better defense than they have in years past. While the Blackhawks have plentyof energy, the Blues have played better hockey down the stretch. I’m picking St. Louis in six.