NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Hurricanes vs. Avalanche (April 16)
Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Artturi Lehkonen
- The Avalanche are short home favorites on Saturday night against the Hurricanes.
- Carolina beat Colorado in the previous matchup between these teams, but can Colorado exact revenge at home?
- Nick Martin breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.
Hurricanes vs. Avalanche Odds
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Hurricanes handed the Avalanche a rare loss on March 10th in Raleigh in what was a very heated and well contested 2-0 Canes victory. The Avalanche have since gone on a 13-1-1 tear and are simply dominating in all areas of the ice.
Can the Avalanche exact some revenge here in what could be a possible Stanley Cup Final preview?
Hurricanes Offense Might Be Overrated
The Hurricanes suffered a frustrating 3-0 home defeat last time out at the hands of the lowly Red Wings when Alex Nedeljkovic post a 46-save shutout against his former club.
The surprising loss breathed some life into the Rangers’ pursuit of the Canes for first in the Metropolitan Division. The Hurricanes now sit just two points up on the Rangers on even games played.
A 4.98 to 2.12 Expected Goals Score is a firm comment that the Canes could have fared better, but they have developed quite a pattern of making the opposition’s netminder post career-best performances.
Carolina has consistently underperformed its Expected Goals For mark during coach Rod Brind’Amour’s tenure. The Canes’ mindset in the offensive zone is to fire every possible puck on goal, with less concern to force the goaltender to move than other top teams.
Carolina holds a -18.3 Goals Scored Above Expected rating this season. The Canes are again the only truly elite team with a notable difference between their Expected Goal production and Actual Goal production.
Regardless, Carolina is still one of the league’s truly elite and unquestionably will be a very tough out come the postseason. Nonetheless, they may not be as offensively dangerous as the Expected Goals analytics suggest.
At the other end of the ice, Carolina is actually even better than its excellent defensive analytics suggest. This may be why both Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta have managed such notable turnarounds in form this season.
We can safely expect Freddie Andersen will get the nod in this important contest for Carolina. Andersen sits second to only Igor Shesterkin in Goals Saved Above Expected, with a rating of +30.8, and holds a stellar .926 Save Percentage.
Avalanche Surging Into the Playoffs
Down the stretch of the regular season, the Avalanche have thoroughly proven that they are the best team in hockey. They are deservedly the NHL title favorites at +350 while no other team is shorter than +550.
Consequently, coach Jared Bednar’s squad will look to be as sharp as possible entering a playoff season with sky-high expectations. They have a great opportunity to hone their game Saturday vs. the Canes.
Considering the amount of man-games lost to elite talents this season, the fact that Colorado holds the league’s best record and a +85 Goal Differential is indicative of the team’s overall depth.
Even playing without Nazem Kadri, who has been one of the best second-line centers in hockey this season, the Avs’ current second unit of J.T. Compher, Valeri Nichuschkin, and deadline pickup Arturri Lehkonen has been spectacular.
That second line doesn’t usually feature Andre Burakovsky, but with captain and regular no. 1 LW Gabriel Landeskog sidelined, Burakovsky slots up in the lineup to the first line. He has shined in the heightened role by producing 11 points in nine contests of late.
Darcy Kuemper has been spectacular in goal for the Avs and should get the start here. Kuemper has played to a +23.6 GSAx rating with a .926 Save Percentage in 51 games played this season.
Hurricanes vs. Avalanche Pick
Only the Stars have beaten the Avalanche twice in regulation this season, and the Canes will have the chance to be the second team on that list here. However, I don’t expect them to make it happen.
I incorrectly picked the Avs to beat the Canes in their first matchup last month, but it was somewhat of a tough beat considering the gameplay and some crucial calls going the Canes’ way late.
My expectation is that the Avs will have that loss in mind and continue tuning up their game for what should be a deep postseason run with a strong effort here.
Expect a hard-fought and low-scoring contest. While I lean toward Under 6 as well, there’s better value in backing Colorado to Win at -140.
Pick: Colorado Avalanche Moneyline -135