- The St. Louis Blues have lost three straight games
- They’ve now fallen behind the Avalanche in the odds to win the Western Conference
- Is now the time to bet on the defending Stanley Cup champs winning their second straight ?
The St. Louis Blues have lost three games in a row but still sit atop the Western Conference with 68 points.
Despite having a six point-lead over the Avalanche in the Central Division, the defending champs have now been surpassed by Colorado in the 2020 Western Conference odds.
With the Blues in a mini-slump, is now the time to bet on St. Louis going back-to-back?
2020 Western Conference Futures Odds
|Team||Western Conf. Odds||Stanley Cup Odds|
|St. Louis Blues||+600||+1200|
|Vegas Golden Knights||+800||+1600|
Odds taken Jan. 28
Singing the Blues
The Blues have now lost three straight games at the hands of the Flyers, Avalanche and Canucks. When you look more closely at those losses, there isn’t much reason for concern. The Blues outshot their opponent in each of those games and managed to earn a point against Philly. The Blues outplayed Vancouver in their first game back from the All-Star break but were stymied by a red-hot Thatcher Demko.
The Blues typically respond very well after a stretch of losses. They’ve only lost three straight games in regulation once this season, and they followed that up by winning their next eight games. There’s a good chance they bounce back soon, especially when you consider NHL.com ranks their remaining schedule as the sixth easiest in the entire league.
Tarasenko Remains Out
What might be most impressive about the Blues success this season is that they’ve done it without superstar forward Vladimir Tarasenko. The Russian sniper remains sidelined due to injury after having shoulder surgery performed on Oct. 29.
Vladimir Tarasenko may be out longer than expected for the Blues, and the forward's status could determine if the defending Stanley Cup champions will try to add a top-six forward before the 2020 NHL Trade Deadline on Feb. 24.https://t.co/JtpCdgVpN0
— NHL.com (@NHLdotcom) January 28, 2020
Tarasenko was originally expected to miss five months, but the latest reports state that he may not return until late-April. This could lead to the Blues acquiring a top-six forward at the trade deadline and then also getting Tarasenko back sometime during their first round playoff series.
The Blues are already averaging 3.18 goals-per-game and have the fourth-best power-play unit (24.8% efficiency) in the NHL. Adding another top-six weapon to this offense before Tarasenko returns would certainly make the Blues the team to beat in this year’s NHL postseason.
Blues Built for Postseason
A big reason to considering laying down money on the Blues is their style of play. They are one of the heaviest teams in the NHL and play a relentless style of hockey that is built for the playoffs. They’ve made it to at least the second round in three of the last four years and have plenty of experience.
Colorado may have just as much talent, but there are question marks. The Avalanche are almost a bottom-10 team when it comes to special teams (PP, PK) and their goaltenders Pavel Francouz and Philipp Grubauer have minimal playoff experience. Jordan Binnington has been one of the best goalies in the league this year and has proven he can carry his team to a championship.
History of the Back-to-Back
While an NHL team winning back-to-back Stanley Cup sounds rare, it’s probably more common than you think. Pittsburgh went back-to-back as recently as 2016 and 2017, and prior to that, Chicago and Los Angeles alternated winning the Cup for four straight years.
When an elite team has a talented core group of players in their prime, there is a certain window for prime Stanley Cup contention. That’s exactly what the Blues have right now with goalie Binnington, two-way center Ryan O’Reilly and an elite defense core that includes Alex Pietrangelo, Colton Parayko and newcomer Justin Faulk.
The Blues have lost just 12 times in regulation this season. This is pretty much the exact same team that dominated in the postseason last year before beating the Bruins to win it all. Betting on them going all the way again at +1000 is great value.
Washington or Tampa would pose a legitimate threat in a potential final, but when you consider St. Louis prevailed over an Eastern Conference powerhouse last season, they would have a very realistic chance at winning over another one in 2020.
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