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NHL Picks: May 25

By Mitchell Blair

The Tampa Bay Lightning are once again in the NHL’s final four and chances are at the end of the night, they will be joined by the Colorado Avalanche. There is no doubt in my mind that the only way the Avalanche lose Game 5 of their second-round series against St. Louis is if they beat themselves.

This series changed when Nazem Kadri collided with Jordan Binnington, knocking the St. Louis goaltender out of the series. I really liked what the Blues were doing in Game 3 until the Binnington injury. That play is a series-changer and while I thought Colorado would advance regardless, the absence of Binnington certainly enhanced it leaving St. Louis with an off-season decision as to what they do with soon to be unrestricted free agent Ville Husso as I can’t see them trading Binnington unless there is a desire for him to leave.

The Kadri play definitely took St. Louis out of its game in Game 4 as they were more interested in taking cheap shots at the Colorado forward instead of trying to even up a series after getting blasted for three goals in just over 100 seconds of action. The question I have for Game 5 is how long will it take for Colorado to assume control and when they do, is the potential for ugliness there? Kadri certainly did nothing to throw cold water on the situation when he said his Game 4 performance was motivated by those who had hateful comments towards him as well as singling out St. Louis head coach Craig Berube for words he had on the Binnington hit. I can see the Blues becoming unhinged if this one gets away from them and the pressure will be on the officiating crew to keep it tame. If Colorado plays the same game they did in Game 4, this one will be over.

Not many are giving St. Louis a chance, but you can make some good money if you want to take them to keep the series going. I don’t see it happening. I see the Avs winning and the Avs winning convincingly. Throw your money down hard on Colorado in what will be at least a two-goal victory if not more.

PICK:  Avalanche at -1.5 at +105 on bet365

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