St. Louis Blues (0-0) at Colorado Avalanche (0-0)
NHL Hockey: Wednesday, January 13, 2021 at 10:30 pm (Ball Arena)
The Line: Colorado Avalanche -145 / St. Louis Blues +118 --- Over/Under: 5.5 Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
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The St. Louis Blues and the Colorado Avalanche meet in NHL action from the Ball Arena on Wednesday night.
The St. Louis Blues come into the 2021 season looking to bounce back from a disappointing finish to the 2019-20 season, a season that saw the Blue win the Central division title and finish 1st in the West when the season was halted due to the Coronavirus pandemic, but when the season restarted, the Blues would end up on the losing side of all three of their round-robin seeding games, finishing 4th and playing the Vancouver Canucks in the first round, a series that St. Louis lost in six games, ending their quest to defend their title rather early. The most noteworthy change from last year is the loss of Alex Pietrangelo, as the Blues’ top defenseman did not re-sign with St. Louis and ended up with the Golden Knights. The Blues also shipped backup goalie Jake Allen to Montreal and Alex Steen retired. The good news is that St. Louis brought in Torey Krug to fill that void from Boston while also bringing in some toughness in the form of Kyle Clifford from the Toronto Maple Leafs to bolster the roster. It’s the usual cast of characters throughout the lineup though, with David Perron, Ryan O’Reilly and Brayden Schenn expected to anchor the top line while Jordan Binnington stands between the pipes and Colton Parayko is expected to headman the defensive unit alongside the aforementioned Krug. It’s a long way out, but the Blues appear primed and ready to rebound this season.
The Colorado Avalanche enter this season as one of the strongest cup contenders after making the playoffs for the 3rd straight year, finishing with a 42-20-6 record, just two points behind the Blues for 2nd in the Central and the Western Conference after a nekc and neck battle in the entire regular season prior to the pause. The Avs went into the bubble and took down two of three games in the round-robin seeding matchups, earning the 2nd seed. The Avalanche beat the Coyotes in the first round before falling in seven games to the eventual Western Conference champion Dallas Stars. Nathan MacKinnon is back to lead the charge in Colorado after leading the Avs with 35 goals and 58 points for his 93 points, almost double Cale Makar in 2nd who had 50 points in 57 games. MacKinnon led the Avs with 25 points in the playoffs as well while Mikko Rantanen had 21 points in the bubble and Nazem Kadri had 9 goals in the postseason as well. Phillip Grubauer is expected to return to start in goal for the Avs this season after a solid 5-0-1 mark in the bubble and he will most likely make up the goaltending duo with Pavel Francouz, splitting time in one of the most even work splits in the NHL last season.
St. Louis is 7-3 in their last 10 road games and 2-7 in their last 9 games overall while the over is 7-2 in their last 9 games as an underdog. Colorado is 20-8 in their last 28 Wednesday games while the over is 9-1 in their last 10 games overall. St. Louis is 15-6 in the last 21 meetings between these two teams.
I think over the course of the year these are going to be two of the sharper teams defensively in the league. However, opening night and needing some time to get back up to game speed, I expect there to be an adjustment period, especially in goal, so I’ll side with the over which has hit in three of the last four meetings between the two as my free pick for this game. My stronger play is on the side and I have that available as a premium pick that you can find here.