NHL Betting Guide: Will Colorado’s Fairy Tale Continue in San Jose?

NHL Betting Guide: Will Colorado’s Fairy Tale Continue in San Jose? article feature image

Here’s a sentence nobody expected to be writing in April. The Colorado Avalanche are on the brink of a playoff spot. 

The Avs currently have 93 points, one point ahead of St. Louis for the last wild-card spot in the Western Conference with two games – including their season finale against the Blues on Saturday – left to play.

A win over the Sharks on Thursday would be gigantic for Jared Bednar’s team, but San Jose isn’t going to be an easy hill to climb, as the Sharks still have a lot at stake. The Sharks are still scrapping with Los Angeles and Anaheim for home-ice advantage in the first round and will need a win – or an overtime/shootout loss – over the Avs to avoid falling into a third-place in the division if the Kings beat the visiting Wild Thursday night.

Fun times ahead.

Colorado Avalanche (+151) @ San Jose Sharks (-175) | O/U: 5.5
10:30 p.m. ET

Burn Baby, Bernier: The Avalanche will be without starting goaltender Semyon Varlamov for the rest of the season, meaning journeyman Jonathan Bernier – a 2006 first-round pick – will be handed the keys to the car.

In 35 games played this year Bernier has looked all right. The 29-year-old has a .929 even strength save percentage (23rd in the NHL among goalies with at least 400 minutes played), which is just a shade under his .934 expected save percentage. In terms of Goals Saved Above Average (the number of goals saved compared to a hypothetical league average goaltender, also known as GSAA) Bernier has been below average this year with a -4.16 GSAA at 5v5.

Mr. Jones: In the other net, Martin Jones has been just about average again this year. He boasts a .917 even strength save percentage, which on the surface isn’t all that good, but his expected save percentage is .918, so while he isn’t stealing many games, he isn’t costing the Sharks any either.

Special Teams: The Sharks have the best penalty kill in the league at 85.1%, nearly 5.5 basis points above the league average. The Avs’ penalty kill isn’t that far behind, operating at 83.8%, which is the third-best mark in the circuit.

Burns, Baby Burns: Priced at $7,300 on DraftKings, Brent Burns for San Jose stands out in our Models on Thursday against Colorado. He currently ranks in the 97th percentile or better in shots, shots+blocks, and Corsi over the past month (three crucial peripheral stats to target), despite the Sharks four-game losing streak. Burns could be chalky, given the Sharks also have a fantastic matchup to generate shot attempts with the night’s second-highest expected Corsi For. Per our Trends tool, power play defensemen with comparable salaries and peripheral stats have historically outproduced their salary-based expectations by 0.83 points hitting value 61.1 percent of the time. 

Pickles: If you’re searching for a viable punt play in this game, the Sharks’ Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who is priced at $4,300 on DraftKings, could be a nice pivot off of Brent Burns. Historically, power-play defenseman at home in this price range with comparable shots+blocks and Corsi numbers over the past month (94th percentile) have performed above their salary-based expectation (+0.60 DraftKings Plus/Minus) with a 55.9% Consistency Rating. — Joe Holka

Sharp Shooters: Colorado is the third-best shooting team in the league this season, scoring on 10.5% of its shots on target. Although shooting percentages are volatile and often a result of luck, the top five teams are: Tampa Bay, Washington, Colorado, Winnipeg and Toronto – not exactly bad company.

Gotta Have Hart: It’s an obvious thing to say, but the Avalanche would be nowhere close to the playoffs without Nathan MacKinnon. The 22-year-old ranks second in the NHL – behind only Auston Matthews and just ahead of Connor McDavid – with 2.53 primary points (goals + first assists) per 60 minutes (5v5) this year. – Michael Leboff

The Real Shark Tank: The over is 10-3-2 in the last 15 games between the Sharks and the Avalanche. This includes a 7-1-1 stretch over their last nine meetings and a 5-0-1 mark in their last six meetings at the Shark Tank. Over their last 10 tilts in San Jose, these two teams are combining for an average of 6.6 total goals per game.- Evan Abrams

Photo: Ron Chenoy, USA Today Sports

Stats provided by Corsica.Hockey and Natural Stat Trick.

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