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Betting Blues Sharks - Blues And Sharks Continue First Round Series With A Plot Twist

Posted by Don Melrose on 6/5/2014 4:41:16 AM

The St. Louis Blues started their first-round NHL playoff series against the San Jose Sharks with one goaltender. They're now continuing the series with a different netminder.

West Quarters, Game 4: St. Louis Blues @ San Jose Sharks – Thursday, April 19  
Sports betting line: N/A

Why St. Louis Will Win

When you make an online betting play in an NHL playoff series, there's always a specific angle, a nuance, a granule of reality that can turn into a bigger storyline and a larger, overarching source of inspiration for a given team. For the St. Louis Blues, that transformative moment just might have occurred on Saturday night in Game 2 of this series against the San Jose Sharks. Down 1-0 in the series, the Blues watched as their No. 1 goaltender, Jaroslav Halak, got knocked out of the game with an injury.

For most NHL teams, such an occurrence would have marked a fatal moment due to the massive drop-off that usually exists between a top goaltender and a backup. However, St. Louis watched its backup netminder, Brian Elliott, shut out San Jose in a 3-0 masterpiece. The game filled the Blues with a newer, better and different form of energy. San Jose is a veteran team, much more seasoned than St. Louis is. When the Blues trailed in the series and lost their top goalie, their youth could have worked against them. Instead, they made it work in their favor.

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock is one of the very best bench bosses in the NHL. He has connected with his young team and taught it how to succeed in the rough-and-tumble world of professional hockey. This is a team that should be able to play a physical brand of hockey and keep the Sharks at bay on the road.

Why San Jose Will Win

When betting on this game, one needs to realize that most (though not all) of the Sharks who have made the conference finals each of the past two seasons are still on the San Jose roster. This is a battle-tested club with an ample amount of talent. It might not be the complete team it was in past years, and it doesn't have the speed of its recent incarnations, but after underperforming in the regular season, San Jose – a team that had a problem getting out of the first round of the playoffs several seasons ago before its improvements in 2010 and 2011 – could be liberated for the playoffs.

The Sharks don't have massive pressure resting on their shoulders. They don't figure to be weighed down by the oppressive expectations that have saddled them in the past. The hockey community has usually witnessed the Sharks perform with a noose around their neck as a very high seed. Playing as the No. 7 seed in the West could be just the thing to loosen up this San Francisco Bay Area squad.

Who Will Win?

St. Louis might still be the favorite for the series precisely because its No. 2 goaltender is capable of carrying the load, but San Jose is likely to head back to St. Louis for Game 5 with a win in Game 4. The Sharks will want to give their home fans a treat before catching a plane back to Missouri. This is a series that should go at least six games, so take the lower seed in a Game 4 situation.

NHL Betting Pick: San Jose

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