The National Hockey League has hit the pause button for a week – don’t worry, there’s plenty of Olympic hockey to enjoy – with its All-Star Game break.
The St. Louis Blues hit the midway point of the season in a good position. The Blues are 26-13-5, fourth in the Western Conference. They are just two points back of the Minnesota Wild in the Central Division and have been great at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis, with a 17-5-2 home record this season.
The All-Star Game, well, it’s an All-Star mini-tournament, is set for Saturday at 3 p.m. ET and broadcast live on ABC.
Las Vegas is the host city. T-Mobile Arena will host the mini-tournament and NHL All-Star Skills. NHL All-Star Skills is Friday at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN.
Aside from the usual Fastest Skater and Hardest Shot events, NHL stars will also go outside to launch shots at oversized playing cards to hit a total of 21 (this is Vegas, you know). Players will also take face-offs in the lake next to the famous Bellagio Fountain.
Fourth-year forward Jordan Kyrou is the Blues lone representative in the All-Star Game. Kyrou leads the Blues with 42 points.
While efforts are ongoing to launch sports betting in Missouri, we can still see what bettors in other states are working with.
Are the oddsmakers singing the Blues?
With approximately 35 games left in the regular season, DraftKings sportsbook gives the Blues a good chance to go far in the playoffs. DraftKings has the Blues as +1100 to win the Central Division and the Western Conference.
It has them -1600 to make the playoffs and +2500 to win the Stanley Cup.
DraftKings also has the Blues as +9000 to win the President’s Trophy, given to the team with the best regular-season record in the NHL.
Over at BetMGM, the Blues odds are similar. St. Louis is 11th on the board to win the Stanley Cup in 2022 at +2500. They have slightly higher odds to win the President’s Trophy at +10000.
BetMGM also has unique ‘groupings’ of teams to win the Stanley Cup. BetMGM offers the chance to bet on any of the Original Six franchises to win the Cup in 2022 at +435.
You can also bet on teams that dominated different decades. The Blues are lumped in with teams from the 2010’s to win a cup, and those squads are listed at +375.
There’s even a chance to bet on the group of teams that legendary star Jaromir Jagr played for in the NHL to win the Cup. Jagr played on nine. Those odds are +2000.
NHL All-Star Game’s new format
The NHL scrapped its all-offense, no-hitting Eastern vs. Western Conference All-Star Game format in 2015 and shifted to a three-game mini-tournament in 2016.
Each of the four divisions has a team, with the Atlantic Division squad playing the Metropolitan Division squad in a 3-on-3, 20-minute game, and the Central Division playing the Pacific Division squad in the next.
The winners then meet in a 20-minute game to crown the overall champ. If the score is tied after 20 minutes, there is a shootout to determine the winner.
There was no 2021 All-Star Game because of the schedule changes due to COVID. The 2020 All-Star Game was in St. Louis. Blues goalie Jordan Binnington won the Save Streak event in the Skills Challenge.
The Blues’ Central Division has never won the All-Star Game under this format. The power has been in the Pacific. The Pacific Division has won three times, and the Metropolitan Division has won twice.
Blues first-half review
St. Louis started the season with five straight wins and has carried that momentum forward. Kyrou, in his fourth season, leads a balanced offense that has seen eight players score 10 or more goals this season.
Robert Thomas leads the Blues with 27 assists.
Binnington has been steady in net with 11 wins and a 3.27 goals-against average. He’s been pushed by emerging star Ville Husso in goal. Husso has nine wins and a 1.90 goals-against average.
St. Louis will return to action on Feb. 10 in the Prudential Center to face the New Jersey Devils.