Winnipeg is back home for the April 18th NHL free pick but is that a good thing? The Jets dropped the first two games of their series with the Blues at the Bell MTS Place and had to scrape two victories in St. Louis to keep their hopes of advancing alive. Will the Blues be able to rebound after consecutive home losses like Winnipeg did, or did St. Louis completely lose the momentum they had built?
Where Is the Blues’ Psyche At?
St. Louis had the series by the horns after nail biting 2-1 (+105) and 4-3 (+106) upset wins in Winnipeg to start their postseason run. Things were looking good heading back to the Enterprise Center where a sweep of the Jets was in sight. The Blues subsequently laid an egg in both games back home though, 3-6 (-155) and 2-1 (-156) to let Winnipeg back in this 1st round series. Are the Blues emotionally devastated after blowing the series lead – or on a positive vibe knowing they’ve already won two games at Bell MTS?
One of the bright spots for St. Louis even though they dropped both games at home was that Vladimir Tarasenko got loose for his first two goals of the series. David Perron also has a point in 3 of 4 games to pace the Blues offense that was 15th in scoring during the season. The real key to St. Louis’ success in the April 18th NHL free pick is going to be their 5th ranked defense however. Jordan Binnington is the purveyor of that defense in net and he had won 5 in a row before the consecutive home losses on Sunday and Tuesday.
Are the Jets Refreshed After Tying the Series Back Up?
Winnipeg needed the two wins in St. Louis as much for their own confidence as they did to keep their season alive. The Jets were confident coming into the series winning the first three of four matchups of the regular season and scoring 5+ goals in each game. The Blues captured the last meeting of the season 1-0 way back in early December, and Games 1 and 2 of the postseason marked three straight St. Louis had won at Bell MTS Place. The Jets will have their traditional “Whiteout” with the home fans on Thursday but it hasn’t equated to wins thus far.
The Jets not only have home ice going for them, they have arguably the best player on the ice so far in the series in Patrik Laine. The right winger netted a goal in the first three games of the series and added a helper in Game 3. Mark Scheifele has 5 points the last three games as does Blake Wheeler so Winnipeg has no ideas of bowing out just yet. Connor Hellebuyck allowed 7 goals in Games 2 and 3, but stopped 31 of 32 St. Louis shots on Tuesday.
April 18th NHL Free Pick Betting
The Jets have gotten back to where they need to be at 2-2 but now can they defend their home ice? The Jets offense is more potent (#7 in scoring) than the Blues but it’s been hard for any opponent to get pucks past Binnington. All told, you have to think the home team has the value in this one as Binnington is just one man.
NHL Free Pick: Winnipeg Jets -125