The St. Louis Blues obliterated the Dallas Stars in Game 3 of their Western Conference semifinals series and now the Blues can take a commanding 3-1 edge with a home victory in Game 4. They have become -290 favorites on online sportsbook odds to win this series against the West’s No. 1 seed. Dallas is +245 for the series.
A Closer Look at the Expert NHL Playoffs Betting Pick on Dallas at St. Louis Game 4 & Game InfoWhen: Thursday, May 5, 8 PM ET
Where: Scottrade Center, St. Louis
TV: NBC Sports Network
Opening NHL Lines: Blues -140, Stars +127 (5)
Stars at Blues Game Historic Betting Trends
St. Louis routed Dallas 6-1 in Game 3 on Tuesday — the first two games of this series were each decided by one goal. Alexander Steen and David Backes had two goals apiece, Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and two assists, Troy Brouwer had a goal and assist, and Brian Elliott was strong when he needed to be for the Blues in their first lopsided triumph of the postseason. Their other five wins (four in first round vs. Chicago) were decided by one goal.
St. Louis scored six unanswered goals after Colton Sceviour gave Dallas the early advantage, with three coming in a breakaway second period. With the Blues up 2-1, Brouwer beat defenseman Kris Russell while driving to the net and scored on Antti Niemi, who was then pulled in favor of Kari Lehtonen. It didn’t get any better for the Stars after that. Steen capped the big second period with a power-play goal, which tied his postseason career high for goals in a game. Elliott turned aside 25-of-26 shots. Elliott has allowed two goals or less in three of the last five games. The 31-year-old has a 6-4 record and a 2.25 GAA to go with a .933 save percentage.
St. Louis again won the special teams battle, scoring twice on the power play while the Stars went 0-4 with the man-advantage. The heavy St. Louis forecheck forced turnovers that resulted in pucks ending up in the Dallas net.
For the Stars, Niemi started and allowed three goals on 12 shots before being pulled at 2:34 of the second period. Lehtonen, who started Games 1 and 2, made 24 saves on 27 shots in relief. It’s not clear who will start Game 4 but I’d assume it’s Lehtonen. The Stars have allowed four goals or more in five of their nine playoff games, including four of the past five games.
Since 1970, only one team has managed to capture an NHL championship with a two-goalie system. In 1972, the Boston Bruins split the work between Gerry Cheevers and Eddie Johnston during the regular season on the way to the best record in the NHL. Cheevers played 41 games and Johnston 38. It was more of the same in the playoffs as Cheevers went 6-2 and Johnston 6-1 and the Bruins stormed to the Cup in 15 games.
On the bright side, Dallas has scored first in each game in the series. Sceviour, who was moved up to Jason Spezza’s line for Game 3, was the beneficiary of two fortuitous bounces before scoring at 4:44 of the first.
Expert Betting Prediction
You can’t win the Cup with shaky goaltending. Give St. Louis the win in Game 4 and this series in six.