No. 8. St. Louis Blues, 14/1
Record: 24-14-7, 55 points
Sitting three points behind the Blackhawks in the Central Division we find the St. Louis Blues, a team that has some goal scorers for sure. With exception of their fourth line, which has their goon Ryan Reaves, all their lines have at least one pure goal scorer who has at least 24 points on the season. Their first line shows off Vladimir Tarasenko, who is currently fifth in the league in points with 44. What surprises me most is they are sitting right around the league average in scoring this season. On paper, they look like a team that should at least be top-10 in goals for, but they sit in tied for 13th in that category.
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For the defense, they are right around the league average in goals against, with 112, but they have the third-best penalty kill in the league. So when they happen to take some penalties, they are more than capable of killing them off and not letting the other team capitalize. Their goaltender Jake Allen, who is currently sidelined with an injury, posts a .924 save percentage and lets up about 2.17 goals per game. So when a team like this is only letting in about two goals a game, it is going to win some games. Going along with these stats, Allen is the type of goaltender who can win the Blues a series or two in the playoffs, and maybe even ride high to the Stanley Cup Final.
I think the Blues are better than the Wild even though the odds do not think so, but the Blues always seem to blow up in the postseason. Despite finishing first and second in the division for the past four season, the Blues have not made it past the second round of the playoffs. And if the standings stay the way they are, they will be facing the ‘Hawks in the first round, and the Blues will try to out-hit and “wear out” the ‘Hawks, which has not worked for teams in previous playoffs.
Next: No. 7: Minnesota Wild