NHL Hockey Betting: St. Louis Blues at San Jose Sharks

NHL Hockey Betting:  St. Louis Blues at San Jose Sharks&h=235&w=320&zc=1

The St. Louis Blues have put themselves into a tough situation that makes tonight’s Game Four matchup with the San Jose Sharks a make or break contest. St. Louis won Game One at home by a 2-1 score but San Jose took Games Two and Three for a 2-1 lead heading into this game. But it’s worse than that–St. Louis hasn’t scored a goal since Jori Lehtera’s unassisted tally at 9:15 in the second period of Game One. That makes it right around 150 minutes of gametime without a score.

Martin Jones has played well in net for the Sharks–you don’t put up shutouts in back to back games playing poorly–but he’s received a lot of help from his defense who have limited St. Louis to 48 shots in the past two games. Even in the Game One loss the Sharks minimized the Blues’ scoring opportunities and are now averaging just 23.6 shots per against for this series. The Blues have done much to help Jones and company–Brian Elliott was very good in Game One of the series but has been marginal at best during the two losses. He was pulled late in Game Three after allowing 3 goals on just 14 shots.

So as we said at the outset this is make or break for the Blues. There’s been a goaltending switch to Jake Allen and the hope is that he’ll provide a spark. The Blues simply need to get more pressure on Jones. Actually pressure helps but what they really need is to put more goals *past* Jones. The Sharks have to keep doing what they’ve been doing and hope that St. Louis gets frustrated with the things that aren’t going their way. If the Blues lose their goose is cooked–in the NHL Conference Finals there’s only been one team to come back and win the series down 3-1 (the full series record of teams down 3-1 in the Conference Finals is 1-66). A win and everything is tied up 2-2 heading back to St. Louis and it’s a new series.

Typically we look to bet against teams in ‘must win’ situations because they’re usually dealt an inflated price. This looks like a good value on a desperate, talented team.


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