Monday, April 13, 2015

NHL Playoffs 2015: Wild Vs. Blues Prediction

Minnesota Wild Vs. St. Louis Blues

Market Watch

If you like the Blues' chances as much as I do, you won't be finding much value with them in the playoffs.

They are appropriately listed as favorites at -143 (58.8%). Can the Wild win this series? Yes, but I wouldn't put my money on it happening.

Bottom Line

Even with the Dubnyk-led resurgence by the Wild this year, it still wasn't enough to be ranked higher than the Blues. I think the Lightning are the only team in the league that can roll out as much offensive depth up front, and the emergence of Tarasenko and Schwartz give St. Louis the most feared attack in the West. Add in guys like Stastny and Jaskin, and you have a top 9 that will come at you in waves, as indicated by their superior 53.5 SAF% puck possession rate.

After that, things begin to even out. Defensively there isn't much that separates these two, and special teams is pretty much a wash. In goal, Dubnyk is a safer bet than Allen or Elliot at this point, which isn't something I ever expected to say out loud.

That said, I'm a big believer in Jake Allen, and if he plays like how he did down the stretch, the Blues will be in great shape for a deep run to the finals. If he falters? I'll be holding my breath with Elliot.

The Wild present a huge test for the Blues, and if an upset happens, it will be a major disappointment for St. Louis. They've been knocking on the contender door for a couple years now, so it's time for them to step up and take that next step. I'm putting my money on that to happen in 6 games or less.

Pick: Blues -1.5 (+158) (2u)

All first round series predictions