Golden Knights vs. Avalanche Odds, Pick, Preview: Lay it With Colorado (Oct. 26)
John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Cale Makar
Avalanche vs. Knights Odds
|Golden Knights Odds||+145|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL odds here.|
The Colorado Avalanche and the Vegas Golden Knights face off for the first time since playing each other in the second round in the playoffs last year.
When the NHL schedule came out, this game was circled on many calendars. Two elite teams going after each other in hopes of taking the lead of the Western Conference hierarchy.
Unfortunately it’s been a rough go for Vegas and Colorado so far, with the two powerhouses combining for six total points in 10 games.
Avalanche Starting Slow
You would be hard-pressed to find a team that has more talent than Colorado. It was a rough start to the season for the Avs, as they had to play a few games without superstar Nathan MacKinnon, but things are pointing in the right direction.
After dominating the Blackhawks on opening night, the Avalanche uncharacteristically stumbled, losing three in a row. They did, however, right the ship a bit by winning in a shootout against the defending champs Lightning (though Tampa has struggled to start the year, as well).
Despite the slow start, the offense has been there. Though not as elite as they are expected, they’re a middle-of-the-road team in expected goals with an expected goals for percentage of 50.73%, and generating 42 high danger scoring chances. Surprisingly, their power play has been rough (bottom three in the league), but it’s a small sample and given their priors, it’s likely they get going on the man advantage.
The Darcy Kuemper hype-train was loud heading into October. He was projected to take the next step in his career when he joined Colorado this summer, and become the stonewall that Philipp Grubauer became for the Avs last year.
It hasn’t been like that so far, as he’s posting a .894 SV% and -2.9 GSAx which is bottom five in the league. It’s not like defense has been an issue either, as they’ve only allowed 37 high danger chances and killed 81% of penalties. They have certainly held their own, but it’s only a matter if Kuemper lives up to the expectations.
Golden Knights Banged Up
Hockey in Sin City has yet to see losing hockey in the Golden Knights’ existence, until now. A four-game losing streak along with a string of debilitating injuries has stifled the NHL’s 31st franchise. After getting shut out by the New York Islanders 2-0, many are wondering what is next for Vegas.
There is still a lot of hockey to be played. Key pieces like Max Pacioretty and captain Mark Stone will come back from injuries before December, but so far, early results haven’t been promising. They were always one of the elite teams in driving play, and this year has been a struggle.
They haven’t scored a single power play goal all season. After finishing in the top five in expected goals, the Knights are in the bottom 10 with an xGF% of 46.42%, however, they are third in high danger chances with 55. Either way, this is not what Vegas fans are used to, and they can only hope things turn around quickly.
The defense hasn’t done much to help goaltender Robin Lehner. They’ve allowed the opposition 61 high danger chances, which is third-worst in the league, and the penalty kill has struggled after posting the best mark in the league last season.
It is, however, a testament on how important Stone is to their team, as he was their top penalty killer and an excellent two-way forward. Lehner can certainly hold his own in net. Amidst all the struggles he’s managed to post a .904 SV% and 0.4 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx), but if his defense isn’t helping him, there’s not much else he can do.
Knights vs. Avalanche Pick
With Vegas short-handed, it’ll be interesting to see if young guys like Peyton Krebs, Jake Leschyshyn and Keegan Kolesar can step up. The Knights just need to be better in all facets of their game. It truly seems like Lehner is the only one performing at his potential, and there aren’t signs of a quick turnaround.
I like Colorado, because even though they haven’t played their best, they’ve still been about league average in play-driving and are really just missing quality goaltending. You also just can’t ignore the talent they possess in MacKinnon, Rantanen, Landeskog, Girard, Makar, et al.
Pick: Avalanche at -170
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