Avalanche vs Golden Knights Game 4 Odds, Pick & Preview: Colorado Looks to Bounce Back After Loss (June 6)
David Becker/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Nathan MacKinnon.
- After a thrilling Game 3 victory, the Golden Knights look to even their series with the Avalanche on Sunday night.
- Colorado's top line continues to thrive, but Marc-Andre Fleury has kept Vegas in games since missing the series opener.
- Mike Ianniello breaks down this matchup from Sin City, delivering his best bet and betting analysis below
Avalanche vs. Golden Knights Odds
|Golden Knights Odds||-115|
|Time||Sunday, 8:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Saturday and via BetMGM|
This playoff matchup between the Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights has been on every hockey fan’s calendar since the beginning of the season.
So far, it has not disappointed.
Through the first three matchups, we have gotten three totally different games. Game 1 saw Colorado absolutely pump the Golden Knights, dominating the game to a 71.7 xGF% and won 7-1 in a total mismatch. Game 2 was fairly evenly matched, as the Avalanche had a 51.9 xGF% and came away with a 3-2 win in overtime.
Then, Game 3 turned the other way, with Vegas really outplaying Colorado at home and winning 3-2. The Golden Knights had a 73.9 xGF% and enter Game 4 with all the momentum.
Avs’ Top Line Continues To Thrive
There is buzzing, and then there is the Colorado top line.
Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog have been on the ice for 13 goals for and just one goal against through their first seven playoff games. MacKinnon has 13 points (8G, 5A), Landeskog has 12 points (4G, 8A) and Rantanen has 11 points (4G, 7A). Rantanen now has a point in 17 consecutive playoff games, and he and MacKinnon both rank top six on the all-time points per playoff game list.
Vegas likes to play a physical game but they will need to be disciplined as the Avalanche power play has been unstoppable so far this postseason. The Colorado power play is clicking at 44%, the best in the playoffs. They have tallied a PPG in six of their seven games, scoring multiple special teams goals in four of them.
The Avalanche have two of the best puck-moving defensemen in Cale Maker and Devon Toews quarterbacking their power play units. Makar leads all defenseman in the playoffs with 1.29 points per game, and has six power play points this postseason.
Obviously Colorado is known for their high-flying offense but it was Philipp Grubauer who kept them in the game on Friday night. The Avalanche goaltender earned his first career Vezina Trophy nomination and has been excellent this postseason.
Grubauer is 6-1 this playoffs with a 1.86 goals against average and .941 save percentage, which leads all goalies who have played more than one game. He stood on his head in game three, with a 1.51 GSAx.
Expected goals (also known as xG) is a predictive statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as shooting luck or outstanding goaltending.
Simply put, an expected goals rate (xGF%) above 50% is considered good because it means a team is creating the majority of the scoring chances. Anything below 50% is usually a sign that a team is struggling to control play.
Fleury Gives Vegas Stability Between Pipes
It is obviously easy to second guess head coach Pete DeBoer’s decision to start Robin Lehner in Game 1, given the result. But at the end of the day, Lehner is one of the best goaltenders in the league and led Vegas to the Western Conference Finals last season.
Marc-Andre Fleury was back in net for Games 2 and 3 and continues to be steady, especially in Game 3. Fleury has a .922 save percentage and 1.88 goals against average this postseason and despite needing to make just 18 saves in Game 3, made some huge ones late as Colorado scrambled to tie the game.
After missing most of the first round series, Max Pacioretty is back and has tallied four points in his four games since returning. Leading the Golden Knights with 24 goals during the regular season, Pacioretty noticeably changes the Vegas offense, giving Vegas their best scoring threat and balancing out their top three lines. The Knights line of Pacioretty, Chandler Stephenson and Mark Stone skated to a 78.0 xG% in Game 2 and 70.0 xG% in Game 3.
The Vegas penalty kill unit finished the season with best PK% in the league at 86.8%. They will need to return to form quickly to beat this Colorado team. The Golden Knights are just 70% on the PK this postseason, 12th among playoff teams. They have surrendered a power play goal in six straight games, and have allowed five power play goals in three games against the Avalanche.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Can these two teams just play like a best-of-15 series and we award the winner the Stanley Cup Champion?
Colorado and Vegas tied for the most points in the league during the regular season with 82. They were first and second in goal differential and both finished top three in goals for and goals against this year.
Besides being the two best teams in the league, what makes this series so compelling is the contrast in styles.
The Avalanche want to play in space and use their elite speed and skill to skate circles around their opponent. They have the best power play percentage in the playoffs and lead all teams with 4.57 goals per game.
The Golden Knights want to clog things up, play a physical game, and create traffic in front of the net. Vegas leads the postseason with 141 shots blocked and ranks second with 373 hits.
We have seen Colorado dominate a game, Vegas dominate a game, and one fairly evenly played game. So what can we expect in Game 4?
I am expecting another evenly played game. During their eight regular season meetings, each team won four of them and the goal differential was 18-17.
This is one of those series, where I would likely back whichever team I could get at plus money, given how even they are. With the odds being split, I am going to lean Colorado here. I just think their power play is just too good right now and the Vegas penalty kill hasn’t been able to slow them down.
As good as Fleury has been, his fellow Vezina Trophy finalist Grubauer is outplaying him right now. There is no doubt that the full capacity Vegas crowd was overwhelming on Friday, but I think Colorado will be able to settle in and play better in Game 4.
Bonus bet: Game 2 in this series went to overtime and Game 3 looked like it was heading there before a pair of quick goals late from Vegas. I keep saying how evenly matched these two teams are, so why not sprinkle a little on this game to go to overtime at +310.
Pick: Colorado Avalanche -105 (bet to -115)