Wednesday’s NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs betting preview: Blues at Stars

 

St. Louis Blues at Dallas Stars (A: +100, H: -120, O/U: 5)

Series tied 3-3

The Dallas Stars staved off elimination with a huge road victory and now have a chance to clinch a spot in the Western Conference final on their home ice when they host the St. Louis Blues in Wednesday night’s winner-take-all Game 7. Dallas is seeking its first Game 7 victory since beating Colorado in the 2000 Western Conference final.

The top-seeded Stars stunned the Blues by jumping out to a quick three-goal lead and holding on for a 3-2 victory in Game 6 to bring the series back to Dallas. “We still have to win two in a row, which we have not been able to do in this series,” Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen said. “That’s something that’s our goal. It’s still alive so we just need to relax now and get ready for the next one.” Monday’s loss dropped St. Louis to 1-3 in potential series clinchers, but the Blues did eliminate reigning Stanley Cup champion Chicago in Game 7 of the first round and have won twice in Dallas in this series. “I know one thing: We’re going to come and we’re going to come after them, big-time,” St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVAS

PROBABLE GOALIES:

Blues – Brian Elliott (W/L: 7-6, GAA: 2.39, SAVE %: .929)

Stars – Kari Lehtonen (W/L: 6-2, GAA: 2.58, SAVE %: .907)

INJURY REPORT:

Blues – No injuries to report.

Stars – LW T. Moen (Out For Season, hand), C T. Seguin (Out Wednesday, achilles).

MATCHUP CHART:

ABOUT THE BLUES (56-28-11, 37-42 O/U): Hitchcock opened some eyes following Game 6 when he told the media that “I want to sleep on” a decision for his starting netminder for Game 7 after Brian Elliott was yanked in the first period for allowing three goals on seven shots. Although St. Louis has a viable alternative in Jake Allen, who opened the season as the team’s No. 1 netminder before getting hurt, Elliott has started every game in the postseason after posting a 23-8-6 mark and 2.07 goals-against average in the regular season. “He’s the ultimate pro,” Allen said of Elliott. “He’ll definitely be ready. He’s been the best player on our team the whole playoffs and he’ll be ready to go again.”

ABOUT THE STARS (57-26-11, 50-39 O/U): Although Dallas was the league’s highest-scoring team in the regular season, the Stars turned to a rope-a-dope tactic following the early goal outburst in Game 6 and nearly squandered the lead while registering a season-low 14 shots on goal. “So far in the playoffs, we haven’t been a good team with a three-goal lead,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “Even with a four-goal lead, we weren’t a good team. We’re a team that’s still learning. And a lot of players it’s their first kick at this.” Jason Spezza, who scored 33 times during the regular season and added four tallies in the first-round win versus Minnesota, netted his first goal of the series Monday.

TRENDS:

* Blues are 9-2 in their last 11 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
* Stars are 1-4 in their last 5 games following a win.
* Over is 2-0-3 in Blues last 5 overall.
* Over is 5-0-4 in Stars last 9 games playing on 1 days rest.
* Road team is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings.

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