NHL Hockey Picks: April 11th 2013
St. Louis Blues vs. Minnesota Wild
Prediction: Under 5 -110 odds
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NHL totals set south of five are pretty much non-existent during the regular season, but if there were ever a spot for such a low number, this might be it.
The Blues are playing lights out defensive hockey right now – fresh off back-to-back 1-0 shutout wins over the Red Wings and Predators. With the Wild struggling to regain their offensive prowess, off a shutout loss to the Blackhawks on Tuesday, this is a good spot for St. Louis to continue its stingy ways.
I don’t see St. Louis letting down its guard in this spot. A long stretch of uneven play left the Blues in eighth place entering this past Sunday’s game in Detroit. They’ve now climbed to sixth spot, currently sitting tied with the Wild. Note that St. Louis has taken both previous meetings in this series this season, including a 4-1 victory here in Minnesota earlier this month.
Minnesota made a big splash at the trade deadline, acquiring Jason Pominville from Buffalo, but its offense has fizzled since, producing just three goals over its last three games. All three of those goals came in a 3-0 shutout win over the Blue Jackets on Sunday.
The good news is, the Wild seem to have righted the ship defensively (and between the pipes). They’ve allowed only four goals over their last three games, and Nik Backstrom has really stepped up his game, giving up only one goal on 55 shots in his last two starts.
Minnesota has allowed eight goals in regulation time in two previous matchups with the Blues this season, so it should bring the proper level of focus to the table on Thursday. Just as the Blues do, the Wild realize the importance of this late season showdown. Look for a well-played defensive game by both sides, as this one stays under the number. Take the under (1*).