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Avalanche vs. Golden Knights NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Back Colorado in the Desert (Saturday, February 26)

Avalanche vs. Golden Knights NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Back Colorado in the Desert (Saturday, February 26) article feature image
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Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Nazem Kadri

  • The Golden Knights host the Avalanche on Saturday night.
  • The Golden Knights are home underdogs with both teams playing the second leg of a back-to-back.
  • Greg Liodice breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.

Avalanche vs. Golden Knights Odds

Avalanche Odds -135
Golden Knights Odds +115
Over/Under 6.5 (+105/-125)
Time 10 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL odds here.

Two Western Conference powerhouses square off tonight as the Vegas Golden Knights host the Colorado Avalanche. Both teams have faced off twice as the season series is split 1-1. The Avs recently shut out Vegas in the highly anticipated Golden Knight debut of Jack Eichel.

The Avs are coming off an impressive come-from-behind win against the Winnipeg Jets last night. They’ve been red hot since the turn of the calendar year and are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. They’ll look to pull ahead in the season series against the Knights.

Vegas is also on the backend of a back-to-back, as the Golden Knights come off a disappointing loss against the Arizona Coyotes. They haven’t been playing their best hockey as they’re 4-4-2 in their last 10 but are still a tough out against any team they play.

Avalanche Playing Elite Hockey

Colorado holds the best record in the NHL and has one of the deeper rosters as well. The Avalanche dealt with their battles of Covid earlier but are now at full strength (excluding Bowen Byram’s absence). As a testament to their depth, they have five players scoring over a point per game (Nazem Kadri, Mikko Rantanen, Cale Makar, Gabriel Landeskog, and Nathan Mackinnon). 

As one of the elite teams in the league, the Avs are not only second in goals per game (3.98), but they also have one of the highest Expected Goals per 60 minutes with a 3.09 xGF/60. They’re about middle-of-the-pack in creating High Danger Chances, but the Power Play is exceptional, as they score at around a 23.4% rate.

Even with its deadly offense, Colorado is an incredible defensive team as well. The Avs are ranked top 10 in both High Danger Chances Allowed as well as Goals Against per 60 (2.23). However, they struggle with the Penalty Kill, only having a 77.3% Success Rate.

Darcy Kuemper has had a resurgence since having a horrible start to the season. The Canadian net-minder is posting solid numbers with a .919 SV% and a top 10 +14.6 GSAx. Backup Pavel Francouz has done a bang-up job as the back-up goaltender, but since he played against the Jets last night, I fully expect Kuemper to get the nod.


Shorthanded Golden Knights Stepping Up

This has been the first year that the Golden Knights have really fought with their backs against the wall. Injuries have haunted this team all season as they’re missing Robin Lehner, Mark Stone, Alec Martinez, Nolan Patrick, and possibly Jonathan Marchessault and Dylan Coghlan (both missed last game with a non-Covid illness). Luckily there’s a ton of depth on this roster with guys like Chandler Stephenson, Max Pacioretty, Shea Theodore, and Reilly Smith.

Even despite all their injuries, the Knights do a good job at driving play. Currently, they score 3.13 goals per game (13th league-wide) and rank 11th in Expected Goals per 60 with a 2.72 xGF/60. They also generate the eighth most High Danger Chances, but are a below average team with a man advantage, scoring at a 19.1% clip.

Defensively, they aren’t bad, but they’re not great. Vegas is currently 16th in Goals Against per 60 with a 2.43 GA/60 but allow the third most High Danger Chances. The Penalty Kill is pretty average also, as they have a 79.9% Success Rate.

Robin Lehner is currently out with a torn labrum, so that leaves the net to Laurent Brossoit and Logan Thompson. Brossoit has had an okay year as a backup with a .901 SV% and a +4.7 GSAx. Thompson has only played two games and is posting a .935 SV% and a +0.4 GSAx.

Brossoit will certainly be leaned on heavily (he played last night against Arizona), but it’ll be interesting to see if coach Peter DeBoer goes with the rookie Thompson tonight. 

Avalanche-Golden Knights Pick

Vegas is hobbling, and a loss to the Coyotes could not be great for morale, while the Avs are on cloud nine after a character win.

With Colorado at full strength, and the Knights potentially bringing out a rookie in Thompson, I worry this could get ugly real fast. Thompson has a good future ahead of him but is still inexperienced, and I’m not certain they’d run it back with Brossoit.

The Knights give up a decent amount of High Danger Chances, while Colorado feasts on opportunities like that, which seems like a perfect storm.

Pick: Colorado Avalance -1.5 (+175)

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