Wild vs. the Blues (April 8)

wild vs blue odds

wild possibilities -110
Blues odds -110
Above under 6 (-115 / -105)
time 8 p.m. Eastern time
television ESPN +
Chances are via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

Hockey fans will be treated to a potential playoff preview on Friday when the St. Louis Blues host the Minnesota Wild at the Enterprise Center.

The Wild and the Blues head into Friday’s game and sit second and third in the Central League, one point between them. They’ve only met once prior to this season, with the visiting blues winning 6-4 outdoors at Target Field on New Year’s Day.

Here’s the latest news on both teams, and your best bet in the game.

Ground defense provides stability

Minnesota is wrapping up a four-game wild ride on Friday after winning the Carolinas and Washington, then losing 6-2 to Nashville.

That loss was Wild’s first in regulation since before the trade deadline; They’ve gone to Nashville with a record 9-0-1 since March 16th.

The main driver behind this success was outstanding scoring. In all of their nine victories, Wild allowed two goals or less. Cam Talbot’s 7.58 goal was kept above average at 5-on-5 during that time, and Marc-Andre Fleury has been on the trading deadline at 4.54 since arriving in Minnesota, even after his first loss with Wilde against Nashville.

Coach Dean Evason has been rotating a couple of net pros since Florey’s arrival, so the start in St. Louis should go to Talbot. He thrived on the healthy competition of his new tandem.

Wild’s goal rate of 56.38% over the last 10 matches is solid as well, and the boost comes mainly from the defensive side of their game. They don’t give up much and when they do, the goalkeepers have performed better than average.

Offensively, Minnesota averaged 3.27 goals per game during this hot streak — led by Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello.

On the injury front, Wilde will miss rookie striker Matt Boldy and defender John Merrill. Matt Domba left Tuesday’s game with an upper body injury and did not train on Thursday, but his problem does not appear to be as serious as originally thought.

Rounding the blues into shape at a critical time

With a 5-0-1 record in their last six games, the Blues are beginning to look like the juggernaut that stormed their way to the Stanley Cup in 2019.

Last week, they scored 5 out of 6 on a challenging road trip across western Canada. They have also only allowed one goal in each of their last three home matches.

The big difference this time around, of course, is that Jordan Bennington wasn’t the main man behind the mask. Phil Hoso has a minimum league contract and is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, but has started six of his last seven games for the Blues.

He was also called to relieve Bennington after just 1:30 in Edmonton last Friday, helping his team recover from a 4-1 deficit to grab a point in what became a 6-5 loss in overtime.

Even with a heavy workload, Husso is now up to 21-6-5 for the year, with 0.924 savings and 12.27 goals saved above average.

The Blues will be backpacking at home this weekend, and hosting the New York Islanders on Saturday. Although they might split a goal-shooting start, Hosuo is more likely to get the nod against Minnesota in the most important four-point game against a potential opponent in the playoff.

St. Louis offense can sometimes be inaccurate, but it has become more consistent lately. The Blues have scored four goals or more in each of their last six matches, and their powerhouse performance has gone up to 4 goals against 16. Meanwhile, they are on a perfect six-game winning streak, and the Blues have even scored two short cuts during that time.

While the Blues were scoring goals from across their lineup, including defense, the streak of Robert Thomas, Pavel Bukhnevich and Vladimir Tarasenko was particularly hot.

Possessing a low trading lead time, veteran defender Nick Lady has filled his place in style since Tore Krug was brought down by an upper body injury, scoring five points in nine games. Up front, the Blues are missing veteran center Tyler Bosak, who has a lower body problem.

Wild vs Blues Peak

On the cusp of next season’s salary cap hell, Wild had a lot on the line this spring as they look to make a meaningful playoff for the first time since reaching the Western Conference final in their third season, in 2003.

And while the Blues have faded since their cup win in 2019, the team is still rich in supplement experience, with the same coach and many of the same key players.

St. Louis showed the same savvy as visitors to Minnesota at the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day. Although Wild have worked to improve the physical side of their game, particularly with the acquisition of Jeff Deslauriers on the trade deadline, they may not yet be able to match the toughness of the Blues.

The Oddsmakers have set this game line as their pick as of Thursday afternoon. As the home team and team ride a hotline with a contacted goalkeeper, look for St. Louis to win.

picking Blues moneyline (-110), play until -125