NHL Betting Picks:  Boston Bruins at St. Louis Blues&h=253&w=372&zc=1

No one knows what was said in the St. Louis Blues’ locker room following their disastrous games in Western Canada against the Flames and Oilers on March 14 and 16. The Blues headed into these games riding a six game winning streak and having won 11 of their last 14. They were embarrassed in these two games losing by a combined margin of 13-8. Losing games is one thing–having a defense that ranks among the NHL’s best completely fall apart is another thing entirely. Whatever was said in ‘the room’ after these two losses we know one thing for certain–it worked. Since the two game Western Canada debacle the Blues have won five straight. More impressively, they’ve allowed one goal since losing 6-4 at Edmonton. That’s not a one goal against per game average–though that would be nothing at all to be ashamed of. The Blues have allowed one goal, meaning that four of their last five wins have been shutouts. They’ve won at Vancouver (3-0), at San Jose (1-0) at Vancouver again (4-0), at Washington (4-0) and at home against Colorado on Tuesday when the Avs ‘lit up’ the Blues defense for one goal.

The Blues are now tied for the #4 team defense in the NHL with Tampa Bay and trail the top three teams–Anaheim, Los Angeles and Washington–by fractions. St. Louis is just a mediocre 5 on 5 offensive team averaging 2.6 goals per game for #17 in the league. They’re top five in the other three major categories–#4 goals against, #4 power play (22%) and #3 penalty kill (85.1%). Goalie Brian Elliott had lost his starting job to Jake Allen but it’s pretty safe to assume he has it back now since he’s started four of the last five games allowing that one goal with three shutouts. Not that Jake Allen has done anything wrong–he was between the pipes for the Blues’ 4-0 shutout of the Washington Capitals aka the best team in hockey. Elliott has gone from one half of a goalie controversy to a serious Vezina Trophy candidate. It’ll be hard to deny Braden Holtby based on the Capitals’ record this year but Elliott’s numbers are sick: 21-7-6, 1.92 goals against average, 0.935 save percentage, 4 shutouts including three in the past two weeks.

Need more stats to validate St. Louis’ wrecking crew status at the moment? Try their 12-4 record against opponents with winning records in the second half of the season. St, Louis has dominated the Bruins for years in head to head play (18-6 run since 1996) including 4-1 over the last three years. They’ve won 9 of 12 at home since 1996 and won the only game played this year, 2-0 at Boston. Bruins have lost six of seven and while they’re not a bad team no interest in using them to get in front of the Blues’ freight train.