NHL Odds, Preview: Blues vs Canadiens Prediction (Sunday, February 11)
Scott Rovak/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Jordan Kyrou #25 of the St. Louis Blues
Blues vs. Canadiens Odds
Here's everything you need to know about the St. Louis Blues vs. Montreal Canadiens on Sunday, February 11 – our expert NHL prediction and pick.
After a less-than-convincing win Saturday in Buffalo, the Blues are now 14-7-1 under head Coach Drew Bannister. They have been outshot heavily in most of their recent wins, but they have found timely scoring from their top stars.
The Blues could own more of the play than usual on Sunday, however, as they take on a Canadiens side that has allowed 37.06 shots against per game over the last 15 contests.
Here's my Blues vs. Canadiens pick and prediction.
The Blues continue to hold down the final Western wild-ard spot and are tied at 56 points with the Predators. However, they have two games in hand.
Coach Drew Bannister certainly deserves some credit for the team's significant turnaround, which includes a 14-7-1 record to climb back into the mix.
The Blues do seem to be running with some favorable luck during their recent stretch of hot play. In the last 10 games, they own an xGF% of only 40.9 but have scored on 13% of their shots on goal. They've also seen their goalies put up a .913 save % to steal some wins with far less of the overall shot share.
Not all shots are created equal. However, particularly on the defensive side of things, it is still hard to see any current strengths the Blues have displayed that should allow their goaltenders to find much success moving forward.
The team's 3.74 xGA/60 over the last 10 games ranks second last, and if Jordan Binnington and Joel Hofer's play let up a little, we should see the team's goals-against averages rise.
One clear effect that Bannister has had on this roster is getting the most from his top stars. Jordan Kyrou was obviously not seeing eye-to-eye with former coach Craig Berube, and he had been shuffled all over the lineup as a result.
Bannister has consistently kept Kyrou with Robert Thomas and Pavel Buchnevich on the top line, and the trio have been producing like a true No. 1 unit. In 108.8 minutes this season of 5-on-5 play, the trio owns a 53.7% expected goal rating.
As Hofer played Saturday versus Buffalo, we should expect Binnington to get the start here. Binnington has played to a +8.9 GSAx and .908 save % in 35 appearances this season.
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After allowing 38 shots and 16 high-danger chances in Saturday's 3-2 loss to the Stars, the Canadiens now own a 4.08 xGA/60 over the last 10 games, which is the worst mark in the league.
It would be fair to say the loss was still a positive performance, though, for fans of a team that will be entering the draft lottery this April.
Despite the regulation loss, all of the important team's pieces moving forward showed well, and coach Martin St. Louis' group fought until the very end.
Juraj Slafkovsky, Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield continued to show like a true top line. Slafkovsky was rewarded with a late goal, which was his fourth in three games since the All-Star break. Sam Montembeault was excellent again in goal, and fans can certainly feel excited about his $3.15-million-dollar price tag moving forward.
With Nick Suzuki being the Canadiens' only convincing option at center ice after the Sean Monahan trade, it was no surprise to see Alex Newhook play big minutes in his return to the lineup Saturday. Newhook skated 18:52, and he managed three shots on goal with a 33.05 xGF%.
Jake Allen has been confirmed as the Canadiens starter in this back-to-back spot. He's played to a +1.0 GSAx and .901 save % in 17 appearances this season.
The Canadiens have been allowing shots at a rate that's almost unheard of in recent years for what has now become a lengthy sample of play.
The fact that they have even managed to win or at the very least hang around in many of those contests makes them a particularly strong team to target with bets on the opposition's top stars as blowout gamescripts rarely come into play.
In terms of sides, the Blues would be my lean here with Allen likely to start. But I also believe that they are a team currently due to come down to earth, so I do not quite see value at -125.
Kyrou, Buchnevich and Thomas have been in excellent form since Bannister took over the team. They will be in a great situation to do some more damage on Sunday, and they should generate a ton of chances in this game. Kyrou, in particular, is a player who can really burn teams that allow extra space in the neutral zone, and extra space to attack off of the walls.
Kyrou is priced at +110 to record Over 3.5 shots on goal, and I would play that down to +100 in this smash spot.