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Blues Look To Build On Lead Over Hawks

The St. Louis Blues earned a hard fought victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday.

The St. Louis Blues earned a hard fought victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday.

The St. Louis Blues will look to build a two-game lead over the Chicago Blackhawks when the two sides meet in the second game of their Central Division playoff series on Saturday.

Opening face-off at Scottrade Center is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. ET.

What looked like the tightest matchup on paper prior to the start of the postseason proved to be the closest matchup on the ice, at least through the first installment of a potential seven-game series.

It took more than 100 minutes of hockey to separate the two teams on Thursday, with Alexander Steen’s goal 26 seconds into a third overtime period proving to be the decisive moment in a wild Game 1.

The Blues took the 4-3 victory and held on to home-ice advantage, while beating the Blackhawks for a fifth straight game in postseason competition and a ninth time in 10 playoff games. Of course, this was the first playoff meeting between the sides in a dozen years, so that streak might not be a fair representation of what we should expect going forward.

Impressively, the Blues – having allowed three goals in the first 19 minutes of play – held the Blackhawks scoreless through the final 81:06 of the opener. Goalie Ryan Miller halted 39 of 42 shots in the game, while his Chicago counterpart, Corey Crawford, saved 48 of 52. Crawford was the one left lamenting one costly missed save.

Now the two division foes will locks horns again, each looking to make the trip to the Windy City on the back of a win. Fans and observers meanwhile will be hoping for more of the same, please.

CHI_STLSt. Louis has won its last two playoff series with Chicago, a trend that dates all the way back to 1993. Prior to that, the two teams were regular postseason opponents, with Chicago winning seven of eight series.

The Blackhawks are 29-23 all-time against the Blues during the playoffs.

Both teams were, at various stages of the season, picked as the favorite to win the Stanley Cup. St. Louis (5/2) opened the postseason as favorites to win the Western Conference, followed closely by Chicago (15/4). On Thursday’s display, you’d have to like the series winner’s chances of advancing deep into the playoffs. There is, after all, nothing like hearty competition to build a championship run.

Chicago Blackhawks vs. St. Louis Blues odds for 04/19/2014

St. Louis (-115) opened as the narrow favorite over Chicago (+105) on the moneyline ahead of Saturday’s second game. Things have remained close since.

The Blues are now 4-2-0 against the Blackhawks on the season, with three of those victories having come in overtime or shootout. The latter statistic is one of the reasons the Blackhawks’ are favored to cover the spread (+1.5).

The total has been set at 5.

Three of the six meetings between the sides this season, including the opening game of this series, have seen the two combine for six goals or more. That trend includes three of the last four meetings, which makes the over an appealing prospect.


Columbus Blue Jackets at Pittsburgh Penguins

Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA (7:00 p.m. ET)

Game 2: Pittsburgh leads series 1-0

The Pittsburgh Penguins came from two goals down to take Wednesday’s opener with the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3. They’ll now look to leave Pittsburgh with a two-game lead. The Blue Jackets meanwhile continue to look for a franchise first playoff win.

Odds & Trends


 Minnesota Wild at Colorado Avalanche

Pepsi Center, Denver, CO (9:30 p.m. ET)

Game 2: Colorado leads series 1-0

The Colorado Avalanche managed to fend off the Minnesota Wild in Thursday’s series opener, earning a 5-4 overtime victory in the process. The Avs haven’t won consecutive playoff games since handing the Wild three straight losses in 2008. Can they do so on Saturday and head to the Twin Cities with a two-game advantage?

Odds & Trends


As things stand…

For a full list of today’s NHL playoff odds, click here.

For updated NHL futures odds, click here.

For a selection of NHL team prop bets, click here.

For a selection of NHL player prop bets, click here.

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