Stanley Cup Playoffs Player Props: Count on MacKinnon stepping up for Avs vs. Blues

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon warms up against the St. Louis Blues before Game 2 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series Thursday, May 19, 2022, in Denver. (AP)

After another crazy Battle of Alberta, a one-game slate in the Stanley Cup Playoffs will be a nice change of pace.

Saturday night from St. Louis, the Blues and Avalanche will take centre stage with a 2-1 series lead on the line. Colorado took Game 1 on a Josh Manson OT winner, St. Louis responded with a convincing 4-1 victory in Game 2.

Here are some prop bets to consider:

PROP 1: Colorado Avalanche to score the first goal of the game (-140)

One of the biggest stories early on in this series is the fact that St. Lous has scored first in each of the first two games. That’s very unlike Colorado. Not only did coach Jared Bednar’s squad go 4-for-4 in that department in Round 1, but it also did it 52 times in 82 regular-season games. That ranked second in the NHL, behind just the Calgary Flames (54). Bottom line: Expect a stronger start from the roadside in Game 3.

PROP 2: Nathan MacKinnon Anytime Goal (+135) + Over 4.5 SOG (-150)

Simply put, this is Colorado’s biggest game of the season. All year long, the Avs have been out to prove that they’re a different team. With that in mind, the big boys need to step up. Enter Nathan MacKinnon, who after scoring five goals in Round 1 against Nashville, has yet to score through two games versus St. Louis. In addition to that, Game 2 was the first time in six playoff games that the superstar centre did not cover his shot prop. He mustered just three shots, bumping his postseason average down from 7.4 to 6.6 shots per game. Shame.

Motivated MacKinnon in Game 3? I think so.

PROP 3: Ryan O’Reilly Over 0.5 Points (-150) + Over 2.5 SOG (-125)

It’s been slightly undersold to this point, but O’Reilly is having another fantastic post-season for the Blues. Quietly, the 2019 Conn Smythe winner, who notched an assist in Game 2, has points in seven of St. Louis’ eight playoff games. As for the shot prop, the 31-year-old centre has cleared the 2.5 number in back-to-back games to start the series, and six of eight overall.

Betting odds listed above via the Bet365 Sportsbook as of Saturday afternoon.

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