NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Ducks vs Avalanche (Wednesday, November 15)
Photo by Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Lukas Dostal.
Ducks vs. Avalanche Odds
The Anaheim Ducks showed some fight Tuesday night in their come-from-behind victory over the Predators. They'll have to match that energy on Wednesday night as they travel from Nashville to Denver to take on the perennial powerhouse Colorado Avalanche for the second leg of a back-to-back.
Few teams can keep pace with the Avs these days, but the Ducks have been at their best lately, and that might be enough for them to keep pace with Colorado.
Much of Anaheim's success this season has been contingent on above-average goaltending. Primary netminder John Gibson stole the show on Tuesday night, but Lukas Dostal has been more than adequate when called upon this season.
Dostal is in his third season with the Ducks, albeit with infrequent usage throughout. Nevertheless, he has solidified himself as the backup tendy in Anaheim, earning an equal workshare with Gibson early on this season. Dostal has stood tall every time the Ducks go to him. The Czech netminder is well on his way to setting a career-high in playing time, posting a career-best 91.0% save percentage early in 2022-23.
Combined with a leveled-up offense, the Ducks are living up to their seemingly lost potential. Anaheim skaters have combined for the 13th-best shooting percentage across all strengths, finding the back of the net on 10.8% of shots. Granted, they don't have the best underlying metrics at 5-on-5, but the Ducks have out-chanced their opponents in quality chances in two straight games. Further, they've recorded two or more goals at 5-on-5 in three of five games, limiting opponents to just one 5-on-5 goal in all but one of those contests.
Growth and development are still significant parts of the Ducks' outlook. But inevitably, young teams get hot and Anaheim is flying high over its current sample. The Ducks are coming into this one on consecutive victories, outplaying their opponents in both outings.
There's no hiding what the Avalanche bring to the arena on any given night. Colorado is loaded with skilled players up and down the lineup, complemented by a stable of role players who can fill scoring roles.
But the NHL season is a grind, and teams can't operate at optimum efficiency from start to finish. Identifying the ebbs and flows of a team is crucial for long-term gambling success. Heading into tonight's Western Conference showdown, the Avs appear to be losing momentum with their on-ice product.
Colorado has been roughed up lately, dropping three of their last five with a modest decline in their analytics. Specifically, the Avs have been outplayed in two of their previous three against underwhelming opponents.
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Nathan MacKinnon and company posted an expected goals-for rating of 46.2% against the Seattle Kraken last week, following that up with a 49.0% effort versus the St. Louis Blues. Although they bounced back with an improved effort in a re-match with the Kraken, those underlying concerns persist against a hot Ducks squad.
The root of Colorado's concerns appears to be goaltending. Avalanche netminders have combined to allow 23 goals over the five-game sample, stopping a minuscule 83.6% of shots over that span. Avs goalies aren't as bad as they've shown lately, but don't expect them to turn things around against a Ducks team that is finding its rhythm.
Worse, the Avalanche have run into scoring issues, getting shut out three times since Oct. 26 and posting the 10th-worst shooting percentage at 5-on-5 this year.
Ducks vs. Avalanche
Betting Pick & Prediction
The Ducks' emergence coincides with a downturn in the Avs' metrics. Consequently, we're taking a shot with a live underdog at a steep price. The Avs have lost their scoring touch at the same time their goalies are imploding. Ebbs and flows are inevitable, but it's not worth backing the Avalanche at their current offering.
We're also rolling the dice with an overtime play, expecting this one gets sorted out in overtime.
Pick: Ducks +240 (BetMGM), 60-Minute Tie +430
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