Saturday features a matchup of Eastern Conference versus Western Conference when the Pittsburgh Penguins (14-8-4) travel to Enterprise Center to take on the St. Louis Blues (16-5-6). The Penguins come into this one with 32 points, which is good for fourth in the Metropolitan division of the Eastern Conference. The Blues currently sit atop the Central Division of the Western Conference with 38 points. Puck drops at 8 pm ET for this one.
The Penguins had won three in a row prior to falling to the Columbus Blue Jackets, 5-2 on Friday night. With the game against the Blue Jackets Friday night, the Penguins’ matchup with the Blues will be the second of a back-to-back, something that could certainly affect them in this one.
Pittsburgh isn’t the only one that will be playing the second of a back-to-back Saturday, though, as the Blues won 3-1 at the Dallas Stars on Friday before returning to host the Penguins. Prior to Friday’s game, they had lost two of their last three games, including dropping two in a row to the Nashville Predators. Still comfortably in the top spot of the Central Division, the defending champions will look to keep it rolling on Saturday.
The moneyline for this one is +110 for the Pittsburgh Penguins and -167 for the St. Louis Blues. The over/under for total goals scored currently sits at 6.
By The Numbers
Offensively, the Pittsburgh Penguins have been the better of the two teams thus far, as they are currently tied for 5th in the NHL, averaging 3.52 goals per game. The Blues are 14th overall, averaging 3.15 goals per game.
Defensively, these two are neck and neck. The Blues currently edge out the Penguins as they rank fifth in the NHL, allowing an average of 2.65 goals per game. The Penguins come in just one spot later at sixth, allowing 2.72 goals per game.
Pittsburgh Looks To Upset Defending Champs
Even though they come in fourth in their division, the Pittsburgh Penguins have gotten off to a respectable start. Adding a win over the defending champions would be the type of signature win that could really get them going, though.
The Penguins are currently led in points by 25-year-old center Jake Guentzel. In 25 games played, he has 25 points, including a team-high 14 goals and 11 assists. Aside from Guentzel, Evgeni Malkin (19 points including 13 assists), Jared McCann (17 points including nine goals), Bryan Rust (17 points including nine goals) and Sidney Crosby (17 points including 12 assists) have been productive for Pittsburgh.
In goal, Matt Murray has gotten the majority of the starts for the Penguins. He is currently 9-4-0 and is allowing 2.72 goals against, with 457 saves and a .901 save percentage. The backup, Tristan Jarry, is 5-3 with a 2.01 goals-against average and a .938 save percentage.
Defending Home Ice
The Blues have picked up where they left off last year. After an unbelievable season that ended with the Stanley Cup, they have met some adversity with some injuries this year but still continue to prosper on the ice.
Leading the way in points for the Blues this year is David Perron with 24 points with 11 goals and 13 assists. Second in points is goal-scoring leader Brayden Schenn, who has 23 with 13 goals and 10 assists. Lastly, the assist leader is Ryan O’Reilly, who has 22 points on five goals and 17 assists.
Jordan Binnington has gotten the majority of the starts in goal. In 20 games started, he is 12-4 while allowing an average of 2.27 goals per game, good for a .925 save percentage. His backup, Jake Allen, has gone 3-1 in six games, allowing 2.95 goals per game and a .904 save percentage.
Hard To Bet Against Blues
The fact that both of these teams will be playing the second of a back-to-back could be the great equalizer, but I have a hard time betting against the Blues when they are at home. On the season, they are 7-3-3 at home. The Penguins are 4-4-2 on the road. Long story short, I like the Blues’ chances playing in front of their home crowd on Saturday. For my money, I am taking the Blues despite the -167 moneyline.