Here are two to consider.
Colorado Avalanche vs. St. Louis Blues: First Team to Three Goals, Blues +170
The Blues’ win in Game 5 was nothing, if not improbable. St. Louis overcame a three-goal deficit, then a late tally apparently flatlined their chances before Robert Thomas tied things up with 56 seconds left in regulation. Could they do it again? Maybe. Should they avoid playing from behind in Game 6? At all costs.
In that respect, I am anticipating a better start from the Blues on Friday night, something that will be easier to accomplish on home ice, where the Blues have been more effective, recording 15 goals over their past four games.
It may surprise bettors to know that St. Louis has a better shooting percentage than the Avs this postseason. The 2019 Cup winners can maximize their skill players ceiling by line matching at the Enterprise Center.
There’s also been regression from Avs’ goalie Darcy Kuemper over the last couple of outings. Kuemper is stopping just 84% of shots, allowing at least three goals in both games. The Avs’ goalie has been less reliable this postseason, posting a 91.7% save percentage, below his regular-season average of 92.1%.
The Blues have Kuemper’s number right now and need to avoid playing from behind if they hope to force a Game 7. They will come out firing on Friday night and should be the first to three goals.
Colorado Avalanche vs. St. Louis Blues: Time of First Goal 9:00-60:00 +105
Along the same vein, I am anticipating a more concentrated defensive effort from the Blues on home ice. Colorado has steamrolled their division rivals in St. Louis, and the primary goal on Friday night will be preventing the Avs from building an early lead.
Overall, the Blues have done well to limit the Avalanche attack.
Colorado has been held to nine or fewer high-danger chances in four straight games and 25 or fewer scoring opportunities in three of four. A sustained defensive structure is a prerequisite for holding the Avalanche at bay and will be at the forefront of the Blues’ game plan.
Aiding the cause for St. Louis, the Avs have overachieved relative to their production metrics, implying that offensive regression may be on the horizon. Colorado is scoring on 15.3% of shots right now, which is a substantial deviation from their season norms. Goals may be harder to come by for the Avs as the series progresses.
With all that in mind, it would be ill-advised to expect an outburst of offense at the outset of Game 6. That means scoring could come later than expected as the Blues assert their defensive footing.