NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Canucks vs. Avalanche (Nov. 17)

NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Canucks vs. Avalanche (Nov. 17) article feature image
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Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Cale Makar

  • The wheels are coming off the Vancouver Canucks, and things won't get any easier as they are big underdogs against the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night.
  • Jacob McKenna breaks down this Western Conference showdown and offers up his best bet for the game:

Avalanche vs. Canucks Odds

Avalanche Odds -155
Canucks Odds +135
Over/Under 6
Time 9 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Vancouver Canucks return home on Wednesday after a three-game road trip with their eyes set on turning their season around.

The Canucks come into the matchup with a record of just 5-9-2 and in seventh place in the Pacific Division. Their play recently has been sub-par to say the least, going 2-7-1 in their last 10 games.

Getting back on track won’t be an easy task for Vancouver, as Travis Green’s charges will have to go up against an Avalanche team that has won four of its last six games and has seemingly found their stride.

We have already seen Vancouver and Colorado square off one time this season, a game in which the Avalanche won by a score 7-1. Will we see Vancouver roll over one more time, or will this be the game where things begin to turn around?

Vancouver Canucks

The first month of Vancouver’s season has been miserable. This team was losing close games early on and remaining competitive, but that has not been the case recently. In the month of November the Canucks have lost by two goals or more in four of their seven games, highlighted by the previously mentioned 7-1 loss to Colorado.

A major reason for their slump is due to the fact that they have not scored the puck at a high rate, a common theme for this squad all season.

Vancouver is only scoring 2.5 goals per game and has 2.08 Expected Goals per 60 minutes in 5-on-5 situations, a mark that is the sixth-lowest in the league.

Furthermore, the defense has not been better and has not come anywhere close to making up for their lack of scoring. The Canucks are being outscored 30-19 in their last seven matchups, a goal differential that is simply not good enough to compete on a nightly basis.

Thatcher Demko will likely get the start in this game, but just like the rest of his team, he has not performed up to the standard we are used to seeing.

In 5-on-5 situations, Demko has an SV % of .922 and an HDSV % of .868. However, in all situations, Demko’s SV % drops to .898 and he has -1.0 Goals Saved Above Expected.

In his last two starts, Demko has failed to register an SV % above .830 and has seen a total of 13 pucks get past him while in net, including allowing seven pucks through against Colorado earlier in the year. He could once again be in trouble in this game.


Colorado Avalanche

Colorado has not gotten off to the start that a championship contender would like to get off to, but they have made some great strides recently and are in a much better position when compared to Vancouver.

The Avs come into this battle with an overall record of 6-5-1, and as previously mentioned are 4-2 in their last six games. A lot of that success has come without Nathan MacKinnon being on the ice too, outscoring their opponents 13-3 since their star suffered his lower body injury.

The recent hot streak scoring the puck has now propelled Colorado close to the top of the league in goals for per 60 minutes in 5-on-5 with 2.68. That number is slightly higher than their Expected Goals For per 60 minutes of 2.40 in 5-on-5 situations, but this is a well balanced offensive attack that can certainly stay hot on that end of the ice.

This defense has been great as well, finding themselves inside the top six in both Expected Goals Against per 60 minutes and High-Danger Chances Against per 60 minutes. Considering their matchup against a struggling offense in this game, they will likely keep Vancouver in check and continue to stay at the top of the league from a defensive standpoint.

Darcy Kuemper is expected to start in net and he has allowed two goals or less in three of his last four starts, including allowing only one goal against this Canucks team.

Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Mikko Rantanen

Avalanche vs. Canucks Pick

Vancouver has been playing bad hockey all year, and originally I thought retuning to their home ice would be beneficial. However, they are just 2-4-1 this season at home, and given the downward spiral that they currently find themselves in I don’t have much confidence they can get back on track on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Colorado has flipped the script and appears to be returning to form, which is a bad sign for the Canucks and the rest of the NHL.

Vancouver has been outplayed in every aspect of the game recently, and Colorado has already proven they can beat this team in dominant fashion. I like the Avalanche to go on the road and take advantage of a struggling squad and grab the win.

Pick: Colorado ML (-155)

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