One team’s losing streak will end Tuesday night in St. Louis. The Blues are battling for the Central Division lead with Winnipeg but are on a two-game skid. The Florida Panthers are one game below .500 and probably not going to be a playoff team. They have dropped three straight. The Blues are solid NHL lines favorites.
Florida at St. Louis Tuesday Night NHL Lines & Game Preview
Coach Boughner likes the #FlaPanthers resolve, and expects better results in the second half of the season.
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) January 9, 2018
When: Tuesday, 8 PM ET
Where: Scottrade Arena, St. Louis
TV: NHL Center Ice, FSFL, FSMW
Radio: 560 WQAM (Florida) / Newsradio 1120 KMOX (St. Louis)
Opening NHL Lines: Blues -158, Panthers +143 (5.5)
St. Louis visited south Florida on Oct. 12 and lost 5-2 – the Blues’ first defeat of the year in their fifth game. Roberto Luongo had 37 saves. Vincent Trocheck scored the go-ahead goal, Ian McCoshen had his first NHL goal, and Jared McCann, Aaron Ekblad and Nick Bjugstad also connected for Florida. Paul Stastny and Vince Dunn — also with his first career goal — countered for St. Louis. Jake Allen stopped 33 shots. The Blues played their third game on the road in four nights so were largely out of gas.
Last year, the Blues lost at home to Florida, 2-1. Trocheck scored with just under 5 seconds remaining. James Reimer stopped 26 shots.
Latest NFL Lines Trends
- Florida is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games
- Florida is 1-6 SU in its last 7 games on the road
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Florida’s last 6 games
- St. Louis is 1-6 ATS in its last 7 games
- St. Louis is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games at home
- The total has gone UNDER in 12 of St. Louis’s last 15 games
Why Bet on Florida?
The Panthers have scored just five total goals in their three-game slide. They fell 3-2 in a shootout in Columbus on Sunday. Aleksander Barkov scored a late tying goal to earn the Panthers a point. Barkov tied the game at two with the net empty late in the third period, in addition to an assist earlier in the game. He now has 13 goals and 37 points in 40 games this season and five points in his last five. Jonathan Huberdeau notched a goal and an assist. He has tallied six goals and has eight points in the last seven contests.
Reimer made 46 saves on 48 shots but lost a goaltenders’ duel with Sergei Bobrovsky. Both of the Blue Jackets goals came on the power play and Reimer stopped five of eight in the shootout. He fell to 11-11-5 this season with a 3.01 goals-against average and .912 save percentage.
For the first time all season, Coach Bob Boughner began a game with top defensemen Keith Yandle and Aaron Ekblad split up. Mike Matheson joined Ekblad on the top pairing, while Yandle shifted to the second alongside Mark Pysyk. The Panthers have scored just 11 total goals in their past six games, and they have scored more than two goals in a game just three times in the last 12 games. Boughner did not say explicitly whether Matheson and Ekblad would remain together for upcoming games but said that “I think we’d like to see more of that”
Radim Vrbata (illness) sat out a fifth straight game on Sunday but took part in Monday’s practice and looks set to return. Vrbata was on the third line with Connor Brickley and Denis Malgin during the session. The Panthers remain without their No. 1 netminder in Luongo, but he hopes to return early next month. Boughner said that isn’t a definitive timetable. Luongo has been out of action since Dec. 4 because of a lower-body injury.
Why Bet on St. Louis?
The Blues (26-16-3) are off a 4-3 overtime loss at Washington on Sunday. For the first time since Nov. 29 against Anaheim, the Blues surrendered two power-play goals in a game. Their penalty-killing has been stellar since then.
Vladimir Tarasenko tallied his 18th goal of the season in the loss. Tarasenko has three goals and four assists in the last eight games. He has amassed 42 points in 45 contests this campaign. Alexander Steen and Carl Gunnarsson also scored in the defeat. Carter Hutton made 29 saves but saw his three-game winning streak snapped. Hutton’s record is still a more than respectable 8-3-1 on the year with a 1.81 goals-against average and a .941 save percentage.
Defenseman Vince Dunn (illness) has been activated from injured reserve but won’t be ready to play Tuesday. Dunn has missed the last four games with flu-like symptoms. The team remains without top winger Jaden Schwartz. It has been four weeks since Schwartz went down with a puck off the foot Dec. 9 in Detroit. The original prognosis was that Schwartz would be re-evaluated in six weeks. Not necessarily return in six weeks, but would be re-evaluated then.
The Blues are 6-8-1 without Schwartz, but have played better lately going 3-1-1 over their last five contests. The weekend games against the Flyers (a 6-3 loss) and Washington (a 4-3 overtime loss) marked the first time the Blues have scored three goals in regulation without him in successive games.
Expert Prediction & NHL Lines Pick
St. Louis by a 3-2 count. Have to win these types of games at home to take a division crown. So don’t hesitate betting on the Blues in the NHL lines.