National Hockey League regular championship 2023/2024. Not so long ago, this match may not have been intriguing for a Russian fan, but now it’s actually a derby of two teams overflowing with Russian hockey talent. The Vancouver Canucks are set to host the St. Louis Blues at home.
Canadian squad, current sensation of the season, is a direct reflection of how to play the long game without radical restructuring or drafts. Although Vancouver did undergo a rebuilding phase, it was not as drastic as other teams that lose seasons for this purpose. As a result, Vancouver is now the Western leader, with one of the strongest attacks in the entire league.
This team is extremely interesting for the Russian audience due to the number of players in the roster, although some are now leased to the KHL or simply not making the cut. Vancouver is currently leading the Pacific Division, and the conference too. After 47 matches, they've amassed 68 points, thanks to 32 regulation time victories and four losses with a point. The other 11 matches ended in Vancouver's loss, not adding extra points. Vancouver boasts the best goal difference in the league with 59.
As for St. Louis, they're currently experiencing what Vancouver went through in previous seasons: they're not undergoing a “rebuild,” but since winning the Cup, they started losing players and have slipped somewhat in their level. Nevertheless, St. Louis still possesses massive motivation and plenty for their leaders to prove. Pavel Buchnevich is finally returning to his previous season's level. This is reflected in their recent matches- two consecutive victories, although they had suffered three consecutive losses. At this point, it's key not to lose momentum; although they are three points away from the play-off zone, they only have one unclaimed point.
Therefore, there's still half a season left to turn things around, especially given that the potential is there. Currently, St. Louis is sitting fourth in the Wild Card, around tenth in the conference. After 45 matches, they've accumulated 48 points, earned from 23 regulation time victories and two losses with a point. The remaining 20 matches were lost without garnering additional points. The Blues are not doing well in terms of goal difference, sitting mid-table in the conference with -15 goals.
Vancouver Canucks and St. Louis Blues have played 50 matches against each other. Vancouver has won 24 matches, with St. Louis claiming victory in 26. This season, Vancouver won their match 5:0, while St. Louis prevailed 2:1 in theirs.
BOf course, I'd back the Canucks here, considering their excellent form - four wins in their last five matches.
However, I'm more inclined towards the TO (5.5) option at 1.63. Both teams have demonstrated a propensity for high-scoring matches recently, so six goals between them are entirely possible.