NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Wild vs. Blues (April 8)
Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Jordan Kyrou (St. Louis)
- The St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild enter Friday night's contest as a pick'em.
- NHL betting analyst Carol Schram believes that price favors the tougher side.
- Read on for her picks and predictions based on Blues-Wild odds.
Wild vs. Blues Odds
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Hockey fans will be treated to a potential playoff preview on Friday when the St. Louis Blues host the Minnesota Wild at the Enterprise Center.
The Wild and the Blues head into Friday’s matchup sitting second and third in the Central division with just one point separating them. They’ve met once before this season, with the visiting Blues seizing the 6-4 win outdoors at Target Field on New Year’s Day.
Here’s the latest on both teams, and your best bet for the game.
Wild Defense Providing Stability
Minnesota is wrapping up a four-game road trip on Friday after logging wins in Carolina and Washington, then losing 6-2 to Nashville.
That loss was the Wild’s first in regulation since before the trade deadline; they went into Nashville with a record of 9-0-1 since March 16.
The main driver behind this success has been outstanding goaltending. In all nine of their wins, the Wild allowed two goals or less. Cam Talbot was at 7.58 goals saved above average at 5-on-5 during that stretch, and trade-deadline addition Marc-Andre Fleury is at 4.54 since arriving in Minnesota, even after taking his first loss with the Wild against Nashville.
Coach Dean Evason has been alternating his two netminders since Fleury’s arrival, so the start in St. Louis should go to Talbot. He has thrived within the healthy competition of his new tandem.
The Wild’s expected goals rate of 56.38% over the last 10 games is also strong, and the boost is coming primarily from the defensive side of their game. They’re not giving up much and when they do, their goalies have performed at a better-than-average rate.
Offensively, Minnesota has averaged a decent 3.27 goals per game during this hot streak — led by Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello.
On the injury front, the Wild are without rookie forward Matt Boldy and defenseman Jon Merrill. Matt Dumba left Tuesday’s game with an upper-body injury and did not practice on Thursday, but his issue does not appear to be as serious as was originally believed.
Blues Rounding Into Form at Crucial Time
With a 5-0-1 record over their last six games, the Blues are starting to look like the juggernaut squad that stormed all the way to the Stanley Cup in 2019.
Last week, they took 5-of-6 points on a tough road trip through Western Canada. They’ve also allowed just one goal in each of their last three games at home.
The big difference this time around, of course, is that Jordan Binnington hasn’t been the main man behind the mask. Ville Husso is on a league-minimum contract and is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, but he has started six of the Blues’ last seven games.
He was also called in to relieve Binnington after just 13:30 in Edmonton last Friday, helping his team rally from a 4-1 deficit to seize a point in what became a 6-5 overtime loss.
Even with his heavy workload, Husso is now up to 21-6-5 for the year, with a .924 save percentage and 12.27 goals saved above average.
The Blues will be on home back-to-back this weekend, also hosting the New York Islanders on Saturday. While they may split their goaltending starts, it’s more likely that Husso will get the nod against Minnesota for the more important four-point game against a potential playoff opponent.
St. Louis’ offense can sometimes be hit-and-miss, but it has become more consistent of late. The Blues have scored four goals or more in each of their last six games, and their power play has gone a solid 4-for-16. Meanwhile, they’re on a six-game streak of perfect penalty killing, and the Blues even have two shorthanded goals during that time.
While the Blues have been getting goals from throughout their lineup, including the defense, the line of Robert Thomas, Pavel Buchnevich and Vladimir Tarasenko has been particularly hot.
A low-key trade deadline acquisition, veteran defenseman Nick Leddy has filled in ably since Torey Krug went down with an upper-body injury, notching five points in nine games. Up front, the Blues are missing veteran center Tyler Bozak, who has a lower-body issue.
Wild vs. Blues Pick
On the cusp of salary-cap hell next season, the Wild having a lot on the line this spring as they look to make a meaningful playoff run for the first time since reaching the Western Conference Final in their third season, back in 2003.
And while the Blues have sputtered since their Cup win in 2019, the team is still rich with that playoff experience, with the same coach and many of the same key players.
St. Louis showed off the same savvy as the visitors in Minnesota at the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day. Though the Wild have worked to amp up the physical side of their game, particularly with the acquisition of Jeff Deslauriers at the trade deadline, they may not yet be able to match the toughness of the Blues.
Oddsmakers have set the line for this game as a pick ’em as of Thursday afternoon. As the home squad and the team riding a hot streak with a dialed-in goalie, look for St. Louis to prevail.
Pick: Blues moneyline (-110), play down to -125