St Louis Blues (4-0-0-0 SU, 4-0 PL, 2-2-0 O/U) vs Florida Panthers (1-1-0-0 SU, 0-2 PL, 2-0-0 O/U)
When: 7:35 PM EDT, Thursday, October 12, 2017
Where: BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida
Lines: Florida -119/ St Louis +108
Tonight on the ice, the Central Division will square off with the Atlantic Division as the St Louis Blues put their unbeaten record on the line when they invade BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida to rumble with the Florida Panthers. The Blues are off a 3-1 road win over the Rangers, while the Panthers are off a 5-4 home win over the Lightning. Goalie Probables: Getting the call for the Blues in this one will be Jake Allen and the Panthers will counter with Roberto Luongo.
Blues Top Rangers To Remain Unbeaten
The Central Division is considered the toughest in hockey this year and the Blues are a big part of that. They had a nice season a year ago before bowing out in the 2nd round of the playoffs. This year they have made some moves to improve their offense and that offense has helped them get off to a fast 4-0 start to the year. The Blues come in off a 3-1 win over the Rangers on the road and that game was more about Carter Hutton, who grabbed the win in his first start of the year. He really played well against a very good offense as he stopped 32 of the 33 shots that he faced. Jake Allen will be back in the crease for this one and he has gone 3-0 with a 2.58 GAA on the year so far, after going 33-25 with a 2.42 GAA overall last year, including 14-13 with a 2.42 GAA on the road. In his career, he has gone 44-29 with a 2.57 GAA on the road and 13-6 with a 1.92 GAA during the month of October, plus 16-14 with a 2.30 GAA against the Atlantic Division, including 1-2 with a 3.00 GAA against the Panthers. Scoring in the win for the Blues was Carl Gunnarsson, which was his 2nd of the year, Brayden Schenn, which was his 2nd of the year and Jaden Schwartz, which was his 2nd of the year. Schwartz also has seven points on the year to lead the team. The Blues were 22-19 on the road last year.
The Blues come into this contest ranked 6th in the league in scoring at 3.50 gpg, while also ranking 28th in shots taken (27.2 spg) and 8th in power play conversions, converting on 25.0% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they come in ranked 10th in goals allowed, giving up 2.25 gpg, while also ranking 25th in shots allowed (37.0) and 15th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 15.8% of their chances.
The Offense Steps Up In Win Over The Bolts
The Florida Panthers had a bit of an odd schedule to start their year as they began with a home-and-home series against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Panthers lost the game in Tampa but were able to bounce back with a 5-4 win in game two. The offense really put the pressure on Tampa goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy as they got off 48 shots on him in the game after putting up 36 shots in the 5-3 loss in game on. You have a good chance to win the more shots you take and Panthers really did that in game two. Scoring in the win was Evgenii Dadonov, which was his first of the year, Nick Bjugstad, which was his first of the year, Colton Sceviour, which was his first of the year, Jared McCann, which was his 1st of the year and Vincent Trocheck, which was his first of the year. Now they get to see if they can build on that win and knock the Blues from the ranks of the unbeatens. The Panthers went just 19-22 on their home ice last year. Grabbing the win against the Lightning was James Reimer, who stopped 26 of the 30 shots that he faced in the games. Roberto Luongo will be back in the crease for this one and he lost 5-3 to the Lightning in his lone start of the year so far. Last year, he was 17-21 with a 2.68 GAA overall, including 10-10 with a 2.72 GAA here at home. In his career, he has gone 268-235 with a 2.38 GAA in his home games and 58-78 with a 2.59 GAA during the month of October, while against the Central he has gone 78-92 with a 2.39 GAA, including 16-14 with a 2.32 GAA against the Blues.
Florida was ranked 23rd in the league in scoring last year at 2.50 gpg, while also ranking 3rd in shots taken (32.2 spg) and 24th in power play conversions, converting on 17.0% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they were not that good as they come in ranked 20th in goals allowed, giving up 2.82 gpg, while also ranking 23rd in shots allowed (31.6) and 2nd in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 14.7% of their chances.
St Louis is:
- 13-3 in their last 16 vs. Eastern Conference
- 6-1 in their last seven in the fourth game of a 4-in-6 situation
- 15-37 in their last 52 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of greater than .600
- 2-5 in their last seven vs. the Western Conference
The St Louis Blues are still unbeaten on the year and they have really looked far better on offense than they did last year. That will really compliment the good goaltending that is expected from Jake Allen this year. The Panthers are off to a 1-1 start and finally get to play a team other than the Lightning. They missed out on the postseason and many expect them to do so again this year. It’s just hard to go against the Blues right now as they are playing with a ton of confidence, especially coming off a 3-1 road win over the Rangers. The Blues are 8-2 their last 10 games in this series and the road team has won the last five. Take St Louis here.