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NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Avalanche vs. Devils (March 8)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Avalanche vs. Devils (March 8) article feature image
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Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Nathan MacKinnon.

  • The Avalanche are big favorites against the lowly Devils on Tuesday night.
  • New Jersey's offense is capable, but Colorado's attack is among the NHL's best.
  • Hockey betting analyst Jacob McKenna breaks down the matchup and makes his betting pick below.

Avalanche vs. Devils Odds

Avalanche Odds -225
Devils Odds +175
Over/Under 6 (-105 / -115)
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Colorado Avalanche will play their second game in two nights when they take on the Devils on Tuesday in Newark.

Colorado enters this matchup as the No. 1 team in the Central Division at 41-11-5 after a win against the Islanders on Monday. Unfortunately, New Jersey hasn’t had nearly as much success this season with just 20 wins.

The talent gap between these two squads is rather large, but can the Devils take advantage of the back-to-back that Colorado is facing and defend their home ice?

Avalanche Attack Regains Form vs. Islanders

Prior to their dominant win on Monday, Colorado had scored just four goals in its last four games, which is not the firepower we have become accustomed to seeing with this Avalanche squad.

However, Colorado turned the page and put up five goals against the Isles on Monday while generating an incredible 49 shots on goal. That’s the type of offense we have seen all season, one that ranks third in the NHL in goals for per 60 minutes in 5-on-5 situations with 3.13.

Colorado has also scored the second most goals in similar situations this season with 138, further exemplifying how dominant this attack can be.

Defensively speaking, the Avs have also been great, posting 2.28 expected goals against per 60 minutes (xGA/60) and allowing just 101 goals in 5-on-5.

A lot of their success on that end of the ice has come from stellar goaltending by Darcy Kuemper, who did not start on Monday and will likely be who we see in net to start this game. At 5-on-5 this season, Kuemper has a .924 save percentage and 3.4 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx).


Devils Defense Holding Back Capable Offense

The Devils have had a disappointing 2021-22 season, sitting in seventh in the Metropolitan Division.

Despite what its record indicates, New Jersey has made some surprising impacts on the offensive end of the ice. They rank seventh in expected goals for per 60 minutes (xGF/60) in 5-on-5 with 2.62 and rank 15th in goals scored with 170.

However, a big reason for their lack of success has been because of their vulnerability on the defensive end of the ice. According to Money Puck, the Devils have given up 147 total goals in 5-on-5 situations this year, which is the second most in the NHL behind only the Blue Jackets.

New Jersey does rank within the top half of the NHL in xGA/60, as well as high-danger chances against per 60 minutes (HDCA/60) at 5-on-5, though. That signals that many of the issues aren’t entirely the defense’s fault, but because of shortcomings in net.

Those shortcomings have a chance to be on full display in this one, as Jonathan Bernier and Mackenzie Blackwood are both on injured reserve. That leaves Jon Gillies or Nico Daws as the potential starters for this matchup, with Daws likely getting the nod for the fifth game in a row. Daws has a .918 save percentage and -0.8 GSAx.

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Avalanche vs. Devils Pick

The back-to-back for Colorado is likely the biggest factor to take into consideration in this one. Even though there is the potential for tired legs, I still believe this matchup has the chance to see plenty of goals.

New Jersey has not found much consistency anywhere on the ice, which has led to plenty of high-scoring games this season. The Devils have seen a total of at least six goals in eight of their last 10 games. Given that either Daws or Gillies could be in net, that trend is in a good position to continue.

Colorado is clearly a more-than-capable offense, while Jesper Bratt, Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier and Dawson Mercer have all provided the Devils with great offensive production this season.

As a result, I expect this to be a high-scoring affair.

Pick: Over 6 (-105)

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