NHL Predictions for the night of December 14th include an underperforming Ottawa Senators and the St. Louis Blues. 

For St. Louis, a tumultuous 60 minutes spun provided by the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday landed them their 14th loss of the season. It was their fourth in a row, and  Craig Berube, a loss of his job. Within the last 36 hours, a fundamental lack of consensus and unanimity within the fanbase and into the team’s operations  – by both parties – as chaos continues to infiltrate the morale of the fanbase.

Meanwhile, Ottawa fell to 11-12-0 on the season and 5-5-0 in their last 10. It’s a stunted pillar of inconsistency, indeed. Despite certifiably above-average offensive play thus far this season, poor back-end play and untimely errors have marred the Senators from maximizing an electric offensive lineup. It makes for an enticing matchup between both teams. 

NHL Predictions: St. Louis Blues vs. Ottawa Senators

Three Keys to Victory

Exterior Defending

In the defensive zone, the Blues most often tighten as a structure and collapse low. It is intending to clot the most dangerous offensive zone areas and force opposing plays to the boards for potent exits and counter-attacking maneuvers. Ironically, a fault in this attempted restriction has led to the near league-worst defensive metrics posted by the team this season. Their lack of mobility and adaptability of the structure provides ample space at the point and along the boards. It provides direct lanes of attack for opponents and rendering flat-footed, weak-side defenders to back-post pressure.

An extension of this structure – positioning and mobilizing a strong side winger outwardly from the front of the net – may be the fundamental step in alleviating the tightness and lethargy defining the defensive zone play of the team.

Rush Defence and Forward Support

Before his firing, Berube’s most notable tactical adjustment entering this season lay in the spacing between defenders. However, such expanded space is only further inflicting on an immobile defence. This results in allowing a lot of high danger chances. 

The sentiment expressed outlining Doug Armstrong’s roster as the primary weakness. St. Louis must maximize the ability of the current roster. Layering the attack in this fashion may act best to lighten the stress of high-end rushes, which will generally improve defensive results for the club.

Generating Lanes of Attack

As referred to above, the alleviation of defensive restriction and immobilization indirectly contributes to the clotting of offensive circulation. Providing this circulation reintroduces the opportunities many of the Blues high-end talents. Specifically, increased support on the backcheck will increase general possession time. The additional lanes of attack that may be funneled through. At this supposed juncture, with more time with the puck and space to skate, is a lane for a pitifully-producing player. Forward Jordan Kyrou can rekindle the team finishing results posted in the previous seasons. 

Introducing and implementing such a system may still serve incredibly high risk defensively, but maximization of the offensive talents of the Blues is far more viable for a team apparently attempting to contend.

Prediction

This is an interesting game on the NHL Predictions. Both of these clubs continue to define inconsistency and unpredictability; perhaps such an element is what can contribute to the excitement fans derive from these games (particularly between teams outside of postseason positions). Tonight, these are two teams possessing but not consistently wielding their high-end talents, attempting to realign their current projectors with their preseason visions. One has reacted, while the other remains patient.

With the Blues desperate but refreshed, we predict they will begin a new era without Craig Berube with a victory.

Prediction: Blues win 5-3

 Main Photo: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Akash Mahi, a dedicated enthusiast of the game, is a recognized expert in the domain of tennis balls. With a keen understanding of materials and aerodynamics, he has contributed to the evolution of tennis ball design, enhancing playability and performance. Mahi's expertise continues to impact both casual players and professionals alike.