The Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues square off Sunday in Game 4 of their 1st-round Western Conference playoff series. The Wild hold a 2-1 lead. Puck drop from Enterprise Center is set for 4:30 p.m. ET (TBS). Below, we look at the Wild vs. Blues odds and lines, and make our expert NHL picks, predictions and bets.
Minnesota has looked fantastic since being shut out 4-0 in the series opener. The Wild took Game 2 by a 6-2 scoreline and gained their first series lead with a 5-1 victory in Game 3 Friday. LW Kirill Kaprizov has scored 4 times in the series while C Joel Eriksson Ek has 3 goals and 2 assists.
St. Louis has fallen behind early the last 2 games. The Blues have been outscored 5-0 in the 1st period of Games 2 and 3 combined, as G Ville Husso has struggled since posting a 37-save shutout in the opener.
Wild at Blues odds and lines
- Money line: Wild -112 (bet $112 to win $100) | Blues -108 (bet $108 to win $100)
- Against the spread (ATS): Wild -1.5 (+205) | Blues +1.5 (-300)
- Over/Under (O/U): 6.5 (O: -112 | U: -108)
Wild at Blues projected goalies
Marc-Andre Fleury (28-23-5, 2.90 GAA, .908 SV%, 4 SO – regular season) vs. Ville Husso (25-7-6, 2.56 GAA, .919 SV%, 2 SO – regular season)
Fleury was sharp again Friday in Game 3 as he turned aside 29 of the 30 shots he faced. The veteran netminder has only allowed 3 goals on 64 shots in the last 2 games and seems to be settling in and providing the Wild with solid goaltending after a shaky series opener.
Husso’s series has gone in the opposite direction. After posting a tremendous 37-save shutout in Game 1, the rookie goaltender has given up 9 goals on 59 shots. He needs to be a lot sharper Sunday to get the Blues even in this series.
The Wild are rolling right now and I see no reason that will stop Sunday.
The Blues are struggling to keep up with the Wild, particularly in 5-on-5 play, and Husso has looked shaky the last 2 games. Injuries are also beginning to pile up on the St. Louis blue line, which is surely a factor against a skilled offensive team like Minnesota.
D Nick Leddy may be back in the lineup after missing Games 2 and 3, but it seems likely that D Robert Bortuzzo will remain sidelined after suffering a facial injury during a blocked shot in Game 2. D Torey Krug will miss the pivotal matchup after exiting Game 3 with a lower-body injury.
Take the WILD (-112) to pick up their 3rd win this series.
It would be nice to have a little more clarity on the Leddy and Bortuzzo situations for the Blues, but if those two important blue liners are unable to suit up for Game 4 it would be a massive blow for the home side.
You can SPRINKLE on WILD -1.5 (+205) either way, however. While it would be a more comfortable wager with those defensemen sidelined for sure, the Blues have allowed empty-net goals in each of the last 2 games with over 7 minutes remaining in regulation. Risking the empty cage for that long gives the Wild an adequate opportunity to make this a reality if they take a lead into the 3rd period.
If I had a lean here it would be to the Over 6.5 (-112) in large part based on the opportunity for empty-net goals to send us over the figure. However, Fleury has been dialed in and Husso has shown that he’s better than he’s performed the last 2 games and has the ability to stifle the Wild offense.
Two of the first 3 in this series went Under this number and it wouldn’t be entirely shocking to see that happen again. It’s a PASS for me.