Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#73 St. Louis Blues 5 vs.
#74 Dallas Stars -120
Wednesday, May 1, 2019 at 9:38pm EDT
American Airlines Center, Dallas
Written by Chris Altruda

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#73 St. Louis
#74 Dallas
51-40
48-43
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48-43
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St. Louis Blues at Dallas Stars

When and Where: Wednesday, May 1, American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas, 9:30 p.m. EDT.

St. Louis leads series 2-1.

With an opportunity to take a commanding series lead back with them to St. Louis, the Blues look to stay perfect on the road this postseason as they face the Dallas Stars in Game 4 of their Western Conference semifinal series Wednesday night.

Blues fight off repeated challenges to reclaim home ice

Three different times in Game 3 the Blues grabbed a one-goal lead, only to have the Stars peg them back. Patrick Maroon ended a sequence of four goals in a 5:16 span with a go-ahead tally with 1:38 to play. St. Louis improved to 4-0 on the road in the playoffs with its 4-3 victory and moved another step closer to its first conference finals appearance since 2016.

“Just keep playing,” Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo told The Athletic after the Blues improved to 6-1 in one-goal games in the playoffs. “Sometimes it might take 60, sometimes it might take more. We’re just going to keep playing, whatever it takes. We’re resilient. This group has a lot of character. Everyone’s in the game and you don’t know who the hero is going to be.”

Rookie Jordan Binnington made 28 saves as he tied Frederik Andersen of the Toronto Maple Leafs as the fastest to 30 overall wins, including the playoffs, in a career, doing so in 39 starts.

On the offensive side, Jaden Schwartz continues to be a consistent source of goals as he netted his team-leading and NHL postseason co-leading sixth goal to open the scoring, and all of them have come in the last five games.

Maroon’s go-ahead goal came after he got separation from Esa Lindell by shoving the Stars defenseman to the ice. No call came — perhaps because Lindell had already been penalized for embellishment — but the forward had plenty of time to gather the puck and beat Ben Bishop high for the winner.

“I think he just fell over me … we were just battling and he tried to get the edge on me and he fell on me,” Maroon said about his game-winner. “I just had more time and more time to use my hands. Usually, I’m muffing that into the pads, but I got it up quick.

“I’ve been working on that in practice, just taking it from the back of the net and trying to lift it instead of just putting it into the pads. I got one through tonight.”

While Schwarz has shouldered more of the offensive scoring load, the Blues are looking for a way to get Vladimir Tarasenko going. He failed to register a point for the second straight game and his two-goal performance in Game 1 are his only points in the last five.

Stars look inward in bid to even series

Despite showing plenty of grit in erasing three one-goal deficits, the Stars’ struggles came about mainly through self-inflected wounds, and their players seem to know it.

“I thought they were the more desperate team,” said Ben Lovejoy to The Athletic, adding the Blues were also the smarter team. “The last 48 hours I’m sure they’ve heard how big and how fast we are, and maybe we’ve heard it too. And we weren’t good enough. I thought they outworked us, they got to tougher areas than we did and they were more disciplined in their play.”

“I think both teams really tried to make a difference out there today,” said Stars defenseman John Klingberg to the club’s official website, offering a glass half-full sentiment. “It was a wild third period, but if we look at ourselves here, we showed some character coming back in the game two or three times. You just have to stay even keel. There are going to be ups and downs through this whole series, and they are a good team.”

Alexander Radulov, Andrew Cogliano, and Tyler Seguin had the goals for the Stars, with Radulov scoring his team-high fifth. Cogliano’s goal was a short-handed marker, and Dallas’ penalty kill again was airtight, improving to 23 for 24 in the postseason.

Bishop finished with 30 saves as he allowed more than three goals for the first time this postseason. The Vezina Trophy finalist is still sporting a .931 save percentage and 2.26 goals-against average in the playoffs.

This is the second straight series the Stars are facing a 2-1 series deficit while playing Game 4 at home. In the previous round, they responded with a 5-1 rout of the Nashville Predators, which sparked them to a series win in six games.

“Guys that have been in this situation, you know the ups and downs,” Lovejoy told the Dallas Morning News. “You win a game, and you feel like you can plan your Stanley Cup party. You lose a game, and you feel like the season’s ending. What we did in the first round is came out and played probably our best game of the playoffs in Game 4. We need that effort again.”

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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The hedge is the Stars have a bounce-back game from Bishop down the line and play tighter than they did in Game 3. Dallas needs its second line to produce in this contest after it was largely bottled up in Monday night’s loss as Seguin may have been double shifting in the third period.

Prediction: Stars -125

Full-Game Total Pick

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Rehashing the same argument from Game 3, without a hook to make this 5.5 goals, there is no reason to consider playing the under. The four-goal back-and-forth in the third period made the over an easy hit in Game 3, and while there may be tighter play in this contest, that goes back to the belief an empty-net goal will make an even goal count — specifically six in this case.

Prediction: OVER 5 goals (-110)

Full-Game Prop Bet

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Logic rules apply to this pick: taking the Stars and the over means taking the Stars to clear their individual over. Additionally, Dallas has scored three or more goals in four of its last six playoff games.

Additionally, here are some player prop bets worthy of consideration: Schwartz OVER 0.5 points (+120); Benn OVER 0.5 points (-140); and Pietrangelo OVER 0.5 points (-120). One that could be worth a flyer is Heiskanen OVER 0.5 points at +130.

Prediction: Stars OVER 2.5 goals (-130)

Half-Time Side Pick

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There are two directions for this pick. One is the safe route of taking the Blues plus the half-goal at -210, which is not a bad option considering the Stars have given up a goal in the first 20 minutes of their last five playoff games and the Blues have scored once in each of their last four.

Or, if you’re all in on the Stars, lay the half-goal and take the home team at +170. Each team has led once before playing to a 1-1 stalemate in Game 3. Again, the expectation is for Dallas to bounce back in this contest, so the aggressive pick of the Stars covering is the play.

Prediction: Stars -0.5 goals (+170)

Half-Time Total Bet

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The over has delivered in the last two games of this series and in four of the seven meetings between the teams this season. The Blues keep finding ways to get things done, even against a team that led the NHL in fewest first-period goals allowed, but the expectation is the Stars take the fight to them with so much at stake.

Prediction: OVER 1.5 goals (+135)

Half-Time Prop Prediction

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Despite Dallas’ stingy first-period ways, the yes has delivered in all three games of this series and in each of the Stars’ last six playoff games. The yes also has delivered in St. Louis’ last five contests, which makes the “yes” a worthy lean.

Prediction: YES to goal in first 10 minutes (-115)

Written By Chris Altruda

A 1994 graduate of Marquette University when they were known as the Warriors and Brooklyn native, Chris Altruda is a freelance sportswriter based in Chicago. He has worked at three major U.S. wire services and also has prior experience in sports handicapping and daily fantasy roster building. Now that the Cubs have won a World Series, he holds out hope the Jets will win a Super Bowl before he dies. Can be followed on Twitter at @AlTruda73.