NHL: St Louis Blues, Toronto Mapleleafs and Boston Bruins take to the rink
We’re into the second half of the regular NHL season, and there is plenty of ice hockey to be played before the Stanley Cup play-offs. We will preview some of the best games of this weekend, including St Louis Blues v Vegas Golden Knights and Toronto Mapleleafs v Winnipeg Jets.
St Louis Blues aiming to close the gap on table toppers Vegas Golden Knights
The Blues are breathing down the necks of the Vegas Knights. Currently, the Blues are second in the Honda West and boast a 14-8-4 record. Mike Hoffman and Ryan O’Reilly have been the top performers for the Blues, with the latter supplying nine assists over the last 10 games. In their previous 10 games, the Blues have averaged 3.1 goals, 5.6 assists and 2.8 penalties.
Nevertheless, despite the impressive stats, the Blues will be desperate to bounce back from their recent reverses against the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks. In both those games they lost by a single goal; however, with back-to-back fixtures coming up against the Knights, they have to bring their A-game to the rink.
- St Louis Blues to beat Vegas Golden Knights @+185 with Casumo
- Vegas Golden Knights to beat St Louis Blues @+120 with Casumo
Vladimir Tarasenko makes positive impact in Blues comeback
After undergoing his third shoulder surgery in just over two years, Vladimir Tarasenko spent a chunk of time on the sidelines. However, after playing his first game in five months against the Kings last weekend, Tarasenko clocked up nearly 19 minutes against the Sharks earlier this week. He contributed a point and an assist, and the Blues will be relieved to have the forward back.
Toronto Mapleleafs have to arrest losing streak
The Maple Leafs are one of the most decorated teams in the NHL, but their recent run of results is cause for concern. Three straight defeats is not the best possible way to prepare for the visit of the Winnipeg Jets. Sheldon Keefe has been in the Maple Leafs hot-seat for 18 months, but his side has to get back in the win column soon.
Winnipeg Jets continue to defy the odds
The Jets have arguably been a surprise package of the season. Occupying the third spot in the Scotia North division, they have won six of their past eight matches, and they took out the Maple Leafs in a thrilling 4-3 victory earlier this week. Yet they probably haven’t always got the plaudits they deserve.
With back-to-back games against the Maple Leafs this week, it will be fascinating to see how the Jets fare. While the Jets will be the underdogs, they probably don’t warrant that status. But they are set to be without defenceman Nathan Beaulieu for a number of weeks, as he has been placed on injury reserve.
Pittsburgh Penguins continue to churn out the results
The Penguins may be third in the MassMutual East division, but there is definitely a winning mentality within the squad. Indeed, the Penguins have tasted victory in their last three matches, and they have netted over four goals per game. Although defenceman John Marino was absent in the week, the lines and pairs were the same against New York Rangers.
The Bruins will have to pick themselves back up. Earlier this week, they were edged out 2-1 by the New York Islanders in a shootout. While the Bruins outshot the Islanders 12-8 in the first period, the Islanders had more staying power and ultimately prevailed. The Bruins may be a place below the Penguins, but they could return to winning ways on Monday evening.