St. Louis Blues (36-27-7) at Pittsburgh Penguins (39-23-9)
NHL Hockey: Saturday, March 16, 2019
Line and Odds: Pittsburgh Penguins -165
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A nice little treat for the Steel city, after all they’ve gone through with their Football team, is a hockey game at 1 p.m. on Saturday, as the St. Louis Blues come to town. The Blues come into town with a two game losing skid, including a 2-0 blanking to the worst team in hockey. The Penguins are fresh off of a 5-0 steamrolling of the atrocity that is the Buffalo Sabres.
Both teams will have Friday off.
For Pittsburgh, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin lead the way there as usual. Can’t leave out Phil Kessel who’s second on the team in scoring. It’s looking like Crosby will eclipse the 100 point mark again but he’ll most likely miss out on any major awards. The way Pittsburgh’s been playing; it’s looking like they may be making another run for the award in hockey.
They’re 21-12-2 at home, have scored the fifth most goals in the NHL and also hold the 3rd best power play in the league. They’re penalty kill is in the middle of the pack as is their goals against but considering they’re 16 games over .500, I don’t think they’re looking at this as an issue. They’re an offense first team and that’s won them two of the last three Stanley Cups. It might even win them another one this year. On the flip side, the Blues enter this match having lost their last two games. That puts them at 19-12-5 on the road, which is still pretty damn good. Their playoff hopes are still in question and they need every win they can get but they can get right back on track with a win against the Penguins.
Offense is the name of the game for the Penguins but the Blues tend to lean more toward the defensive game. They’re only 21st in goals scored but rank at seventh in goals against. Their special teams are nothing special either but with a 36-27-7 record, they’ve made it work regardless. Ryan O’Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko lead the way offensively for the Blues, averaging around a point a game. Jordan Binnington has been great for the Blues whenever he’s been called upon and if he gets the start tonight, I might give this one to the Blues. If they give the nod to Jake Allen, I’ll be a little more hesitant in my prediction.
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Now when I look at this matchup, I see a classic tale of Offense vs. Defense. If the Blues decide to start Binnington over Allen, I’d give them a fair chance but if Allen’s the starter, I’m giving two points to the Penguins. I just don’t see Jake Allen stealing the game from Crosby and Malkin but I also said that Philly would be beating Washington in overtime. I sure was wrong about that.
Considering that Pittsburgh’s coming home off of a three game winning streak, and that St. Louis is coming into PPG Paints Arena coming off a shutout loss to the Senators, I don’t know what to expect. I’d like to think that pride and anger will carry the Blues to a spirited win but I don’t see it happening against Pittsburgh, especially if Allen gets the nod in net. My guess is that Sidney Crosby and the rest of the Penguins will be taking the W against the Blues, even if St. Louis does manage to snag a couple of goals.
PICK: PITTSBURGH -165