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Blues Kings Betting - Two Title-Starved Franchises Fight For A Spot In NHL Final Four

Posted by Don Melrose on 6/5/2014 4:29:17 AM

The round of eight in the NHL postseason – otherwise known as the conference semifinals – includes a clash between two teams desperate for their first taste of Stanley Cup glory.

West Semifinals, Game 3: St. Louis Blues @ Los Angeles Kings – Thursday, May 3  
Sports betting line: N/A

Why St. Louis Will Win

When you are betting online and make a decision in an NHL playoff series, it never hurts to look at patterns. The St. Louis Blues lost the first game of their opening-round postseason series against the San Jose Sharks on home ice in the state of Missouri. No problem – coach Ken Hitchcock's team rebounded to win the next four games of the series. This series against the Los Angeles Kings is its own unique creature, but it's very much worth noting that in the first round against San Jose, the Blues lost starting goalie Jaroslav Halak to injury and didn't miss a beat at all. Brian Elliott stepped in and shut down the Sharks behind a defense that really clamped down at every spot on the ice.

When the Blues made the long plane flight to California for Game 3 on the road, they imposed their will on the opponent. With that experience firmly in mind, the Blues' youth should not be an impediment. This is a team that knows how to play high-level defense, and it knows how to win on the road in the playoffs. Yes, the crowd at Staples Center in Los Angeles will be revved up when this game starts, but the cavernous and airy building is not one of the more intimidating venues for a road team in the National Hockey League. St. Louis has the style and temperament needed to thrive on the road. The Los Angeles Kings will not stand in their way on Thursday night.

Why Los Angeles Will Win

When betting sites post their numbers on this game, they'll be accounting for many different factors, but it's worth noting that no matter what else you might say or believe, the Los Angeles Kings are not playing like a number eight seed. The Kings, under head coach Darryl Sutter, are playing with verve and physicality. They're winning battles for loose pucks along the boards and in the corners. Their goaltender, Jonathan Quick, has been stellar in the playoffs. The Kings did a great job in their Game 1 victory on the penalty kill. In fact, Los Angeles scored the go-ahead goal in that Saturday showdown while being shorthanded.

This is a very resourceful group that thumped the defending Western Conference champion Vancouver Canucks in only five games in the first round, winning all three contests in Vancouver. Los Angeles has taken the arrival of the playoffs as a wake-up call, a time to fulfill its potential on the ice. This is the kind of mentality that wins playoff hockey games.

Who Will Win?

The Blues' knowledge of their last successful playoff foray in the state of California – just two weeks ago – will given them a powerful form of confidence. Expect St. Louis to get the job done on the road.

NHL Betting Pick: St. Louis

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