In this first round Central Division matchup, the St. Louis Blues (46-29-7) who finished third in their division with 99 points meets the Minnesota Wild (49-25-8) who ended the season second with 106 points. The teams met five times in the regular season with the Blues winning the series 3-2. Our St. Louis plays Minnesota 2017 Stanley Cup free pick finds that this will be a tight series.
St. Louis Blues Keys
The best thing that the Blues have going for them is their penalty kill, which is third in the NHL at 84.8%. Their power play is solid, ranking ninth at 21.3%. The team is 12th overall on goals scored and goals against average as they are scoring 2.8 per game and allowing 2.6.
The Blues will look to RW Vladimir Tarasenko to make things happen. He leads the team in goals with 39, is tied for assists with 36 and is tops in points with 75. He is also the top performer on the power play with nine goals and 13 assists. His plus/minus is at -1. LW Jaden Schwartz, who also has 36 assists, is tops in plus/minus at +14. Center Patrik Berglund is second in goals with 23.
Minnesota Wild Keys
The Wild are second in the league in average goals scored at 3.2 per game and seventh in goals against at 2.5. Their penalty kills is good, as they are stopping teams at a rate of 82.9%, which is eighth. The club’s power play is ninth at 21.0%.
The Minnesota Wild put four strong centers on the ice with Mikael Granlund leading the way. He has 69 points, including 43 assists, the team-high, and a plus/minus of +23. Center Eric Staal, with 63 points and at +17, leads Wild scorers 28 goals, while center Mikko Koivu has 58 points and is +27. The fourth center, Charlie Coyle, has 56 points and a plus/minus of +13. LW Jason Zucker, 22 goals, 25 assists and at +34, can make things happen quickly.
Jake Allen (33-20-5) anchors the goaltending area with a .913 save percentage. He’s allowing an average of 2.42 goals per game. Devan Dubnyk (40-19-5) brings a 2.25 GAA to the ice. He’s saving .944 of the shots that he sees. We think that Dubnyk has the edge in this area. But goaltending during the Stanley Cup can fluctuate and certain tenders will rise to the occasion while others will fall.
St. Louis Plays Minnesota 2017 Stanley Cup Free Pick
One concern for the Blues has to be their plus/minus. They have a slew of players who are in the negative. Plus, the Wild can certainly score. They also put a sound D on the ice. Our St. Louis plays Minnesota 2017 Stanley Cup free pick is the Wild in seven.