St. Louis Blues (40-18-5) at Toronto Maple Leafs (26-34-5)
|Date & Time||Saturday March 7, 2015, 7:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Toronto Maple Leafs +153 / St. Louis Blues -170 --- Over/Under: 5.5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
Despite their record the St. Louis Blues are just one of those teams that you watch and assume will find a way to exit the post season early. The Blues are still in the running for the Central Division crown with the recent struggles of the Nashville Predators, but there’s still something about them that leaves a lot to be desired. St. Louis hasn’t made it through the conference semifinals since the 2000-01 season, and despite recent success in the regular season the last three years they have come up short each time in the post season. The last two years have been opening round exits and the year before that was a loss in the second round. Considering in the two full season the Blues posted point toals of 109 and 111 it’s hard to fathom such early round exits. But here the Blues are again, cruising to a playoff berth and still leaving everyone wondering whether or not they have enough to make a legitimate run at the Stanley Cup. St. Louis Could be leading the Central Division standings if not for a recent two game losing streak, but they’ll look to get back on the winning side of things when they travel to Toronto to take on the Maple Leafs. Thursday night the Blues were in Philadelphia and they couldn’t hold a 1-0 lead against a Flyers club that seized the game in the third. Philadelphia scored three times for the come from behind 3-1 win after Brian Elliot was pitching a shut out through two periods. Jaden Schwartz got the Blues on the board in the opening period with his 21st goal of the season but the Blues could not solve Steve Mason the rest of the night. Saturday night is one of those no excuses types of games as they travel to Toronto to take on a lowly Maple Leafs club that they should be able to mop the floor with.
Toronto is 3-6-1 over their last 10 games and considering the way they play most nights that actually seems like a pretty respectable record. The Maple Leafs are -24 in goal differential, 25th in the league in goals against average, and they’re allowing nearly 33 shots per game. After a win in Florida in a weird game against the Panthers the Leafs took a step up in competition against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night. Tampa Bay came out strong and got on the board with a couple of goals in the opening period. David Booth’s second goal of the season cut the deficit to a goal for Toronto but that was as close as they would get. Tampa Bay would add two more goals in the third period before Richard Panik finished the scoring with his 10th of the season in the 4-2 loss. Jonathan Bernier took the loss after allowing four goals on 31 shots. Bernier has had a very up and down season that has coincided with how the team played to start the year and how they’ve been the last several months. It’s hard to get on the goaltenders when the team in front of them isn’t doing much to support them but there have been plenty of instances where Bernier has had a chance to pick up his teammates and hasn’t done so. Toronto has a rough schedule coming up here against a lot of teams that are fighting for playoff berths, so the victories will have to be earned down the stretch if they’re going to come away with any.
The Blues can’t allow themselves to play down to their opponent like they did last week in Edmonton against the Oilers. St. Louis has the talent to take over this game early if they use their size and physicality against the Leafs. Toronto will need the Blues to be sleepwalking to come away with a victory in this one.