Lightning vs. Avalanche NHL Odds, Picks, Predictions: Top Teams Should Create Offense (Thursday, Feb. 10)
Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Gabriel Landeskog
- The Avalanche host the Lightning on Thursday in what could be a Stanley Cup Final preview.
- Colorado is a modest favorite, but the total might be the better play in such a close matchup.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of the game, including a betting pick.
Lightning vs. Avalanche Odds
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Colorado saw its 18-game home winning streak snapped at the hands of the Coyotes, but has the chance to bounce back here with a big statement win at home against the Lightning.
This matchup could be a Stanley Cup Final preview and should be an excellent contest. Who holds the upper hand?
Lightning Remain Dominant
The Lightning have continued to dominate over their last 12 games, with a 9-2-1 record and league-leading 58.51 xGF% over that time frame, and producing a lot of offense with 4.0 goals per game over that span.
Despite the results, there has been a bit of an offensive lull over the last three games while the Lightning skated without the MVP-level play of Nikita Kucherov. But all indications are Kucherov should be back on Thursday after being back practice Wednesday.
Kucherov has 17 points in just 11 contests this season, and although Tampa's depth certainly allows them to succeed without Kucherov — as we saw much of last year and this season — the Lightning are able to kick into another gear offensively with the wildly talented Russian in the lineup. The power play unit, which runs through Kucherov on the half-wall, looks particularly more dangerous with his presence in the lineup.
Andrei Vasilevskiy has thrived yet again this season and should get the start for this big contest. He's stopped .922% of shots faced with a +17.4 goals saved above expected rating throughout 36 games played this season.
Avalanche's Offense Tough to Beat
The preseason Stanley Cup favorite Avalanche remain exactly that halfway through the regular season, and it's no surprise that this roster has come out and scored a ridiculous amount of goals with the talent on hand.
What has been surprising has been the utterly absurd production seen from Nazem Kadri, who has more than helped to cover the loss of Nathan Mackinnon, who has missed 13 contests and will remain out on Thursday.
The Avs' defense is very active in the offensive zone and excellent at pushing the play up the ice, and the wildly talented trio of Cale Makar, Devon Toews, and Samuel Girard have combined for 102 points this season.
The Avs clearly have the talent, and it's no surprise to see them lead the league at 4.09 goals for per game. That production has stayed steady in the last month, at 4.0 goals per game with a 3.37 xGF/60 rating.
Darcy Kuemper should get the start for the Avs, and he has really stabilized after a tough start, now holding a .915 save % with a +9.9 goals saved above expected rating throughout 31 games this season.
In 36 games, the Avalanche have averaged 7.25 combined goals in their contests, with 27 of those games getting to 6 or more.
Unfortunately this game has already moved from 6 to 6.5 from opening on most sites, but we still have enough value to go over that number at +100 to back the obvious play here, especially as Tampa are not a likely candidate to create a well below average total here.
In Colorado's last 11 games against playoff-bound clubs, the game totals rise even more, averaging 7.72 per game with just one game finishing below 6.
I think there is some logical causation toward that higher trend — this Avalanche group has not defended overly well by any means — and the stronger clubs have been able to put together good offensive outputs and force them to put together big offensive nights for wins.
Tampa is an above-average club defensively and have Vasilevskiy in goal, but I still feel that we should see Colorado's ridiculous wealth of offensive talent, both upfront and on the back end, able to find another solid output here, even short Mackinnon.
It also seems unlikely that Colorado can completely shut down a very talented Tampa Bay group offensively, and I think this sets up as a good spot to look for a high-scoring affair in what should be a tremendous game.
Pick: Over 6.5 +100, Play to -120