NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Avalanche vs. Red Wings (February 23)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Avalanche vs. Red Wings (February 23) article feature image

Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Nathan MacKinnon.

  • The Avalanche are heavy favorites against the Red Wings tonight in Detroit.
  • While the Red Wings have showed signs of improvement this season, Colorado is among the league's elite — especially offensively.
  • Our analyst breaks down the matchup and makes his prediction and pick below.

Avalanche vs. Red Wings Odds

Avalanche Odds-280
Red Wings Odds+235
Time7:30 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Colorado Avalanche will finish up their four-game road trip on Wednesday night when they travel to Detroit to take on the Red Wings.

Colorado has played excellent hockey all season, entering this matchup in first place in the Central Division with a record of 36-10-4 and leading the NHL with 76 total points. Meanwhile, the Red Wings have not had as much success, which is why they are 23-22-6 this season and in fifth place in the Atlantic Division.

Colorado is coming off an uncharacteristic 5-1 loss to Boston on Monday night, a game in which the Avs surrendered 45 shots on goal to the Bruins. Can Colorado avenge that loss and end their road trip on a high note, or will we see the Red Wings pull off the upset on their home ice?

Avs Remain Among NHL's Elite

The Colorado Avalanche have been one of the most dominant teams in the NHL this season, and that dominance begins with their offensive attack.

Colorado has a plethora of skaters who can find the back of the net. Mikko Rantanen leads the team with 26 goals through 50 games, and he is followed closely by Nazem Kadri, Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and star defenseman Cale Makar.

That group has propelled this team to the top of the league in many offensive categories, including goals for per 60 minutes in 5-on-5 situations where the Avalanche rank fourth in the NHL with 3.04. In addition, this scoring attack has managed to find the back of the net 114 times in 5-on-5, another category in which Colorado is ranked inside the top four.

The Avs' defensive skillset hasn't always matched their offensive production, but this is still a defensive unit that can hang with any roster in the league.

Led by Makar, the Avalanche have 2.25 expected goals against per 60 minutes (xGA/60), which ranks fourth in the NHL. This unit has also surrendered just 89 goals in 5-on-5, further proving they can be just as dominant as their offensive attack.

Darcy Kuemper has been a big reason for Colorado's success, providing a great last line of defense in net. Kuemper is expected to get the start in this one, and in 5-on-5 he has a .927 save percentage and 5.1 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx).

Can Detroit Contain Colorado?

The Detroit Red Wings have taken some steps in the right direction this season, but this is still a team that has its flaws.

On the offensive end of the ice, the Wings have struggled to string together any form of consistency. Through 51 games, Detroit ranks 25th in Expected Goals For per 60 minutes (xGF/60) in 5-on-5 situations with 2.33, and are averaging just 29.1 shots on goal per game.

Furthermore, in their most recent 10 games, the Red Wings have only been able to generate 8.98 high-danger chances per 60 minutes in 5-on-5, according to Natural Stat Trick, further highlighting their struggles when it comes to making opposing defenses work.

Defensively, Detroit has not been great either. Entering this matchup, the Wings have surrendered the seventh-most goals this season with 175, and as a result are allowing 2.67 goals per 60 minutes in 5-on-5.

In addition, this is a team that gives up 32.8 shots on goal per game, a number that is way too high and could cause problems against a strong offensive attack in Colorado.

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Avalanche vs. Red Wings Pick

The Avalanche are coming off of a bad loss earlier in the week to Boston, and even though this is the end of a long road trip I think they are in a great position to bounce back.

Colorado and Detroit have faced off one time already this season, a game in which the Avalanche dominated in every aspect. When it was all said and done, Colorado posted seven total goals and had 47 shots on goal in the win, while also posting 23.44 high-danger chances in 5-on-5 situations.

Colorado has the superior offensive talent and I think will be more than capable of taking advantage of an average Detroit defense in this one. I like the Avs to avenge Monday's loss and open things up to finish off this road trip.

Pick: Avalanche -1.5 (-115)

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