Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:59 AM
In the Crease - Week 21
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Buying The Blues
The St. Louis Blues fired their coach earlier in the season and appeared to be dead in the water. A lengthy slump at any point of the season in the Western Conference usually means you can sound the death knell. However, the West is not as deep as in the past, and it might only take 85-90 points to qualify for the postseason when teams in the past have missed with so many more. The Blues travel to Arizona on Thursday, putting a seven-game winning streak on the line. They're 5-0 in their past five road games, too, and 4-0 in the past four as a favorite.
The Coyotes haven't been a pushover this season, but lately they're starting leak oil. Arizona has won just two of the past seven games overall, and they're 2-5 in the past seven as an underdog, too. At home, the Coyotes have managed to scratch out just five of their past 18 games, and they're 3-8 in the past 11 as a home 'dog, too. To make matters worse for Arizona, the favorite is 21-5 in the past 26 meetings in this series, with St. Louis 9-2 in their past 11 trips to the desert and 19-7 in the past 26 overall. If you like parlays (and really, who doesn't?), the 'over' has connected in seven of the past nine meetings in this series.
Thursday, Feb. 14
Dallas at Tampa Bay: The Stars are coming off a 3-0 road victory against the Florida Panthers, as G Anton Khudobin stopped all 30 shots he faced in that one on Tuesday. Now, he'll have a much bigger test against the high-octane Lightning. He is 2-1-1 with a 1.76 goals-against average with a .947 save percentage across his past four outings since the All-Star break. The Stars have won six of their past eight games overall, but they're 0-4 in the past four meetings with the Lightning and 2-5 in their past seven trips to Tampa. The 'over' is also 14-3 in the past 17 in this series, with the over hitting in each of the past seven played on the Suncoast.
Washington at San Jose: The Capitals and Sharks could very well be a potential Stanley Cup Finals preview, although the Caps have shown signs of mediocrity lately. The Caps have won four in a row against Western Conference teams, although they're just 4-10 in the past 14 games overall. They're also 1-4 in the past five as a road 'dog, and 0-4 in the past four overall on the road. Washington has won just once in the past eight games against teams with a winning overall record, too.
For San Jose, they're 6-0 in the past six as a home favorite, while cashing in five in a row against Metropolitan Division foes. They have also won seven of the past eight against teams with a winning overall mark. The Sharks have connected in 10 of their past 12 games as a favorite, while going 17-4 in the past 21 following a victory. SAP Center has also been difficult for opponents, as the Sharks are 40-19 in the past 59 on home ice. To make matters worse, All-Star D Erik Karlsson (groin) could potentially return after eight games out.
Friday, Feb. 15
Boston at Anaheim: The Ducks surprised the Canucks on Wednesday night by a 1-0 score. It wasn't terribly surprising that they won in interim coach/general manager Bob Murray's debut behind the bench, but it was surprising that Kevin Boyle was able to post a shutout in his first NHL start. He is likely to get the starting nod again with John Gibson (head) on the Injured Reserve list, and Chad Johnson also sidelined. It will be interesting to see if Boyle can do it again versus one of the top offenses in the Eastern Conference.
Saturday, Feb. 16
Calgary at Pittsburgh: The Flames roll into the Steel City looking to be mightier than the Pens. Pittsburgh has actually been pretty solid against the Western Conference, going 7-4 in the past 11 against the West. The Flames have likely had this one circled on their calendars for a while after being emasculated by the Pens in Calgary by a 9-1 count back on Oct. 25. The Flames enter this one 6-3 in the past nine vs. Eastern Conference clubs.
St. Louis at Colorado: The Blues and Avalanche hook up for the third time this season, and each of the previous two meetings have resulted in St. Louis wins in overtime. That includes the most recent matchup on Dec. 14 in Denver. It's par for the course for the Avalanche, as they have dropped eight straight in overtime dating back to Nov. 18.
Montreal at Tampa Bay: The Lightning were expected to be a contender this season, and they're certainly championship caliber and among the favorites to hoist Lord Stanley's Cup. The Canadiens are a surprise contender in the Eastern Conference, hanging around in the playoff picture and exceeding expectations. If they're to get over the hump, they need to beat the good teams, though. They're 0-2 in the first two meetings with the Lightning this season, including a 6-5 loss on Dec. 29 in Tampa. The Habs are 1-6 in the past seven against the Lightning, last winning in Tampa on April 1, 2017.
Nashville at Vegas: The Predators are certainly not fazed by the Golden Knights. They have won both of the previous meetings this season, and three in a row overall in the series. They have outscored Vegas 7-2 in that three-game run, including a 2-1 win on Jan. 23 at T-Mobile Arena right before the All-Star break. Each of the past four meetings in this series have cashed the 'under', too.
Sunday, Feb. 17
Washington at Anaheim: The Capitals and Ducks will tangle in Southern California. The Ducks have had a difficult time of it against the Eastern Conference, going 1-9-2 in the past 12 against the East heading into Friday's battle against the Bruins. Oddly enough, they were able to beat the defending champs by a 6-5 count in D.C. in the first meeting back on Dec. 2, and that was during a six-game road winning streak against Eastern Conference teams. Can they sweep the Caps for a signature win?