NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Avalanche vs. Ducks (Jan. 19)
Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Nazem Kadri
Avalanche vs. Ducks Odds
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
During a regular season in any sport, every team experiences highs and lows. When a team is at its high, everyone enjoys themselves, and playing the game comes easy. However, a team’s biggest test in a season is how it deals with adversity.
The Colorado Avalanche experienced a ton of adversity early this season, but have pulled themselves to be the hottest team in the league. The Anaheim Ducks, however, are currently experiencing their low point, and it’ll be interesting to see how they react.
Colorado is rolling. What more can you say about a team that has gone 8-1-1 in its last 10 games? After its recent win against the Wild, the Avs took sole possession of first-place in the Central Division for the first time this season, and it doesn’t look like the Avs are stopping anytime soon.
The Ducks are riding the struggle bus. They’re missing a lot of key players due to Covid-19 or injuries, but they have gone 2-6-2 in their last 10, and are in danger of losing their playoff position.
This is not the opponent you want to face in a spot like this.
Who Can Stop the Avs?
After a rough start to the season, it was a matter of when, not if, the Avalanche were going to get on a hot streak. With a roster consisting of superstars like Nathan MacKinnon, captain Gabriel Landeskog, Cale Makar, Mikko Rantanen, and Nazem Kadri, it was bound to happen. The Avs will be without helpful pieces like Ryan Murray, Valeri Nichushkin, and Bowen Byram, but I don’t foresee that being a major problem.
With their recent success, the Avalanche’s offense has picked up substantially. They’re among the elite in expected goals per 60 minutes with a 3.46 xGF but only rank 20th in high-danger chances (partially due to their poor start). Colorado does find some success on the power play however, ranking ninth and scoring at a 23.6% rate.
Defensively, the Avs have been one of the best. They allow the third-fewest high-danger scoring chances, and are middle of the pack in terms of goals allowed.
Darcy Kuemper took a nasty hit against Minnesota on Monday, so it’s expected that Pavel Francouz will get the nod in net tonight. Francouz missed the first three months of the season, but has come back and played decently.
Francouz has skated to a .902 SV% and a -0.9 GSAx (Goals Saved Above Expected) in five games.
The Ducks Need a Turnaround
Coming into this game limping, the Ducks would really love to get back on track after their surprising and successful first three months.
The problem is, with so many key players like Cam Fowler, Josh Manson, Troy Terry, and Sonny Milano out, it’s hard to extinguish an Avalanche team that’s on fire. Don’t be mistaken, this team is very talented, and has a bright future ahead with Trevor Zegras, Isac Lundestrom, and Jamie Drysdale. It’s just a rough spot considering the stretch they are going through right now.
When riding the struggle bus, numbers will fall. While the Ducks rode high for a solid three months, they were atop the Expected Goals per 60 rankings. However, they now sit in 21st with a 2.19 xGF and rank 27th in high-danger chances created. They do find success on the power play though, where they score nearly at a 26% clip.
With Fowler and Manson out, the defense figures to have its hands full with the Avalanche tonight. Anaheim does rank close to where the Avs sit in terms of goals allowed, but the Ducks also allow the fifth-most high-danger chances in the league.
John Gibson is just coming off of Covid protocol, and head coach Dallas Eakins said they will be careful on when to pick his return. Gibson has a .917 SV% and a 3.7 GSAx. Should the All-Star netminder not play, that opens the door for rookie Lukas Dostal, since Anthony Stolarz is out with Covid. Dostal has been successful in his only three appearances, with a .929 SV% and a 0.8 GSAx.
Avalanche vs. Ducks Pick
With Anaheim battered and struggling, it’s hard to envision them getting the upper hand against the red hot Avalanche.
I can see some value in taking the over, however. Anaheim allows a tremendous amount of high-danger scoring chances and a rookie goaltender potentially on one side and a back-up who has played just three games on the other, there could be some scoring.
If the Avs decide to go with Gibson, I think there’s some value on Colorado, even at a big number. It usually takes a goaltender some time to get back into rhythm after a layoff, so I’m not too fussed about laying the wood.
Pick: Over 6 if Dostal starts | Colorado Avalanche -245 if Gibson starts
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