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While every team begins the season with the goal of winning the Stanley Cup, they are all well aware that there are many steps that need to be taken to achieve that dream. Just making it into the postseason is where it all begins, but just getting there with a higher seeding also helps. Being able to have home ice advantage throughout the playoffs is absolutely huge, which is why landing the #1 seed in the conference is kind of a big deal. Winning the President’s Trophy for the best record in the league ensures home ice advantage all the way to the end, but that trophy has also proven to be a bit of a curse over the years. Still, it’s worth winning it to get that home ice edge. In the Western Conference, the battle for the #1 seed appears to be heading down to a 2-horse race, with the defending Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues holding a slight edge over the Colorado Avalanche. The Blues will look to keep that lead when they host the Florida Panthers on Monday night. St. Louis is favored by 1 ½, with the goal total set at 6.
When: Monday, March 9 at 8 PM EST
Where: Enterprise Center, St. Louis
NHL Odds: Get the Latest Odds at YouWager.lv
Why bet on the Florida Panthers
The strength of the Metropolitan Division is making life tough for teams outside the top 3 in the Atlantic Division. The Florida Panthers are currently sitting in the #4 spot in the Atlantic, yet they are still below the playoff line in the Eastern Conference, 3 games off the pace being set by the #8 seed. The Panthers really need a top 3 spot in the division to be sure of a playoff spot, and with the Toronto Maple Leafs on the slide right now, they have a shot at getting close with a win here. The Panthers have not been bad at all on the road this season, going 17-12-4, and while this is their first meeting with the Blues, they will have some confidence in knowing that they are 14-9-3 versus teams from the West.
Why bet on the St. Louis Blues
The St. Louis Blues basically came out of nowhere to win it all this season, but that success has carried over into this year, with the Blues currently sitting with the best record in the Western Conference. They are 41-18-10 on the season, good for 92 points, but that has them just 2 points up on the Colorado Avalanche, a team that is making a strong push for that #1 seed. The Blues have been brilliant of late, going 9-1-0 in their last 10 games. They have also been very tough to beat in their own building, going 23-6-5, which includes 5 straight wins on home ice. The Blues are 6-4-0 in their last 10 against the Panthers, with 4 of the last 5 meetings between these two going OVER.
Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction
This is a game that both teams need, albeit for very different reasons. As desperate as the Panthers are at the moment, I still don’t think that desperation translates to a win here. I am on the Blues to win and cover the spread.
Florida Panthers 3 St. Louis Blues 5