We are now into November, which means we’ve got ourselves a bit of a sample size and are starting to see the true colors of some teams. One team in particular, no not Vegas, deserves some attention. It seems like every year we know what to expect out of the St. Louis Blues. For the past 100 years or so, the Blues have been a solid group that plays a well-organized style of hockey but will ultimately not be good enough to "take the next step." Well, this year, the Blues look like a different breed. St. Louis is off to a 10-2-1 start, and their underlying metrics don’t tell that much of a different story. Head coach Mike Yeo seems to know what he’s doing, and even with the loss of Kevin Shattenkirk, the Blues have the look of a legitimate contender.
Last night’s action: A 1-1 split on two underdogs put us on the plus side of the ledger on a light Tuesday night. Vegas looked like they were going to make it a perfect night, but they blew a couple of leads and were undone by shoddy goaltending, which was to be expected. Winnipeg put us in the win column thanks to another solid effort from goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, who has been very hot over the first month of the season.
For the second time in a couple of weeks, the Edmonton Oilers and Pittsburgh Penguins are playing. And for the second time, NBC Sports has decided to go with another game, this time Chicago vs. Philadelphia, rather than give the masses a look at Sidney Crosby vs. Connor McDavid. Luckily, our only play of the night comes in the NBCSN game, so we can sweat it out together.
Philadelphia continues to be a pretty weird team. They rely heavily on their top six to get by, which is a little concerning because their top forwards are coming off a very poor year. Chicago is the poster child for getting by with a top-heavy lineup, and the only way they’ll succeed again this year is if their best players carry them through the season. Thus far, Chicago has been a poor possession team and has been outchanced at 5-on-5, yet they have a +7 goal differential at 5-on-5. Even with their struggles at even strength, the Blackhawks are the play here because Philadelphia will be without Shayne Gostibehere and Nolan Patrick.
Picks: Chicago -138
Season to date: 27-32, -0.67u
[Photo: Isaiah J. Downing, USA Today]