NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Blues vs. Canucks (March 30)
Rich Lam/Getty Images. Pictured: Thatcher Demko.
- The Canucks are slight home favorites tonight against the Blues.
- St. Louis won this matchup at home on Monday night, although Thatcher Demko should be back in the Canucks' net.
- Nicholas Martin breaks down the game and makes his betting pick below.
Blues vs. Canucks Odds
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
St. Louis will head to Vancouver for the second leg of a back-to-back set with the Canucks. The Blues took an early lead Monday and never looked back, winning 4-1 and putting a dent in the Canucks’ already unlikely playoff hopes.
Can the Canucks respond with a crucial win on home ice?
Can Vancouver Keep This Strong Run Going?
After a sloppy effort in the first period, the Canucks battled to find two desperately needed points Monday. They saw a lot of great chances that they couldn’t convert with Ville Husso thriving in the Blues’ net. Vancouver led the expected goals score from the contest 4.35-3.47, which certainly seems a little more favorable to the Canucks.
Monday’s loss capped off a very tough four game road swing for Vancouver, which claimed three of a possible four points in matchups against powerhouses Colorado and Minnesota to start the trip, before putting together a crucial win in Dallas.
The win over the Stars was a massive statement game in my eyes. Dallas has thrived on home ice this season and is competing with the Canucks in the playoff race.
With the Canucks ultimately choosing to stand pat at the deadline, the push for an unlikely playoff berth is in full tilt. This group continues to answer the bell when things appear to be getting out of reach.
The Canucks’ 44.64 expected goals rate over their last 10 games is certainly not a great indication of regression moving forward, but that has come against a lot of elite competition and tough road games. That number is also still better than the Blues mark over the same date range.
Jaroslav Halak was fine Monday and was surely not the reason Vancouver lost, but St. Louis surely was happy to see Halak as opposed to Thatcher Demko.
Demko has been utterly tremendous throughout the Canucks’ midseason turnaround and is capable of stealing entirely undeserved wins. On a better defensive club, I really think we could be talking him in the mix for the Vezina Trophy.
Demko holds a +11.9 Goals Saved Above Expected Rating (GSAx) with a .917 save percentage in 54 games.
Can St. Louis Hang Despite Underwhelming Metrics?
The underlying numbers surely don’t tell the whole story for the Blues, but over the last 10 games they’ve posted surprisingly poor play-driving metrics. The Blues hold a 44.12 expected goals rate in that span and a -1 goal differential. It’s worth noting that St. Louis’ creative slot passing and strong finishers will consistently see it outscore its expected rate.
Defensively, St. Louis simply hasn’t been very strong of late, consistent with much of this season. The Blues hold the seventh-worst expected goals against per 60 minutes rating over their last 10 games and have appeared to suffer a lot of in-zone breakdowns.
The deadline acquisition of defender Nick Leddy should help the Blues spend less time in the defensive zone. He’s still an excellent puck-mover who can also skate the puck out effectively. However, with Torey Krug being injured, Leddy’s acquisition simply plugs that hole for the time being rather than actually shoring up the second defensive pairing as planned.
It remains to be seen whether or not St. Louis will start Husso or Jordan Binnington in what has continued to be a relatively evenly shared crease. Husso has been considerably sharper, but it does seem Binnington has suffered through a few more of the team’s worst outings.
Husso has been quite sharp this season, and has played to a +15.4 GSAx this season.
Blues vs. Canucks Pick
After a shaky start in St. Louis, Vancouver put together a respectable effort but was unable to convert its scoring chances. The Canucks have been very resilient under Boudreau, and I don’t feel this group is ready to say die on its playoff hopes.
I’m thinking we see a similar run of play here Monday, if not a sharper effort altogether from the Canucks, and that should allow Vancouver to find a better result. We also will likely see Demko in goal opposite Binnington, which is the best-case scenario for the Canucks.
At -115, I feel we have enough value to back the Canucks to find a crucial win here over St. Louis. I’d play Vancouver’s moneyline down to -110 with Husso confirmed to start for St. Louis but would go down to -120 with Binnington in goal.
Pick: Canucks -115 (play to -120 if Binnington starts)
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