The second day of the NHL playoffs features the first game in four series, including San Jose Sharks vs. the St. Louis Blues
Game 1 of the Sharks and Blues qualifies for an NHL Over/Under system that is 74-percent effective through the past five seasons (11-32 O/U)
San Jose fought and scratched its way to the No. 7 seed in the West by closing out the season with four-straight wins where the team scored a total of 17 goals, 11 of which came on the road. Their opponents, Dallas and Los Angeles, posted good goals-against numbers throughout the season but no team could touch the Blues’ league-leading mark of 1.89 goals against per game.
St. Louis is favored to win the series at -155 and online sportsbooks currently show tonight’s game at Blues -126 with a total of 5 Under (-126).
The Blues swept the season series vs. San Jose and held the Sharks to just three goals in total. San Jose’s power play went 1 for 15 and before their recent win streak was on a 1 for 12 run before netting six goals in 20 chances to close out the season.
Jaroslav Halak (26-12-7) gets the call against Antti Niemi and although Halak was sixth in the league with a 1.97 goals against average, he showed a few holes down the stretch, allowing three-plus goals in three of his final four games. Halak does bring postseason experience to the table from his time with Montreal and HC Ken Hitchcock is confident his tender can elevate his game.
The Blues were 4-3 under Davis Payne before signing Hitchcock and he opened with a 3-0 win over Chicago on Nov. 8. His first 10 games, Hitchcock produced a 7-1-2 record and the Blues played 12 games before going over the total (8 unders, 4 pushes).
– Hitchcock has coached his team to 15 overs, 33 unders and 18 pushes since Nov. 8, 2011
San Jose’s Todd McClellan has a record of 3 overs and 12 unders this season when facing opponents with double-revenge.
Much of the sports betting attention today is on Alex Ovechkin vs. the Bruins and news that Jonathan Toews will return for Chicago to face Phoenix. Sharks vs. Blues is definitely not the sexiest game on the board but given St. Louis’ quick exit from the playoffs in 2010, we see definite value on this team playing to its strengths and keeping things quiet on the scoresheet.
Pick: Take the Under