Minnesota Wild (+120) at St. Louis Blues (-140, 5 o/u)
The best-of-seven series between the Minnesota Wild (2-2, 1-1 away) and St. Louis Blues (2-2, 1-1 home) shifts back to Missouri tonight for a crucial Game 5 (9:30 PM Eastern at the Scottrade Center).
Up 2-1 with Game 4 on home ice, Minnesota had a great opportunity to take a 3-1 stranglehold on the series. But the Blues dominated from the opening faceoff, pummeling the Wild 6-1 to even the series at two games apiece.
Ryan Reaves, Vladimir Tarasenko, and David Backes made it 3-0 before some fans had a chance to find their seats. Jared Spurgeon got one back for the Wild early in the second, but the Blues answered with three more second period goals (from Paul Stastny, Tarasenko, and Patrick Berglund) to put the game out of reach.
Wild goalie Devyn Dubnyk was pulled after allowing six goals on just 17 shots.
For St. Louis head coach Ken Hitchcock, the key to the game was simple.
“When we check, we score,” said Hitchcock. “[W]e’re dialed into our game and hopefully we’re going to be hard to play against.”
The Wild, meanwhile, realize a much better effort will be needed next time out.
“We may have been a little cocky. We felt really good and rightfully so,” said winger Zach Parise. “We felt good about the way we played the last game. I don’t know if we thought it was going to be an easy game or if we thought they were going to pack it in, but that wasn’t the case at all.”
Betting-wise, look for Dubnyk to have a bounce-back game and for the Wild, as a team, to play with a lot more urgency. Minnesota (+120) looks like better value, as does the under (5).
(Photo credit: Michael Miller (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo may appear cropped.)