Maple Leafs vs. Avalanche NHL Odds, Pick, Preview (December 1)
Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Nathan MacKinnon
- The Colorado Avalanche and Toronto Maple Leafs are both red-hot and near the top of the NHL standings.
- Colorado is a slight road underdog, despite getting Nathan MacKinnon back.
- Is MacKinnon's return enough to get Jonny Lazarus to back the Avs?
Maple Leafs vs. Avalanche Odds
|Maple Leafs Odds||-135|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Wednesday night’s showdown in Toronto is dripping with storylines.
Nathan MacKinnon is set to make his return to the Colorado lineup after missing the last eight games, Nazem Kadri is playing his first game back in Toronto, and both teams are red-hot, winning 16 of their last 18 games combined.
Could this be a potential Stanley Cup Final preview?
The Avs Get Their Superstar Back
It is terrifying to think that the Avalanche are 7-1 in their last eight games without having Nathan MacKinnon in the lineup. It has been a bit of a rocky season for the 26-year-old NHL phenom. MacKinnon has only played in eight games thus far and has recorded one goal, nine assists for 10 points.
Nazem Kadri has filled in quite nicely during MacKinnon’s absence. Kadri is quietly fifth in the NHL in points with 27 (seven goals, 20 assists), and has put this star-studded offense on his back.
Meanwhile, the Avalanche have surpassed the Edmonton Oilers as the best offensive team in the league. They are currently scoring 4.00 goals per game and have the ninth-best power play, which is converting at a 21.9% rate.
Colorado also has some offensive firepower on their backend, the best of which is former Calder trophy winner and current Norris candidate, Cale Makar.
Makar (a former teammate of mine, I may add) has been a household name since his debut and is showing why once again this season. The puck-moving rearguard ranks third amongst defenseman with 20 points (nine goals, 11 assists) and having MacKinnon back in the lineup should only boost his production.
The Avs can compete with anyone offensively — they are currently generating 11 high-danger scoring chances per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 to go along with their dynamic power play — but the main focus will be on whether or not they can stop the Leafs from scoring.
After having Saturday off, Darcy Kuemper is expected to start for Colorado. Kuemper was expected to provide stable netminding for the Avs this season but has struggled to a -3.7 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx) and a .903 SV% in 15 games this season.
The Leafs Are Flying
Earlier this year, people were wondering if it was time for the Leafs to hit the panic button. Toronto has quickly turned its season around behind the efforts of captain John Tavares and goaltender Jack Campbell.
Campbell has been terrific in the blue paint for the Leafs, posting a record of 12-4-1 and an impressive +16.7 GSAx. Campbell also boasts a .946 SV% and has tallied three shutouts. He’s arguably been the best goaltender in the league through the first quarter of the season.
Led by Tavares, Toronto’s offense has exploded for 15 goals in its last three contests. Tavares has six points (three goals, three assists) in during this three game span and has started to show some real chemistry with his line-mates, William Nylander and Alexander Kerfoot.
Although they’ve been hot as of late, the Leafs offense has not been all that consistent throughout the season. They currently rank 17th, averaging 2.87 goals per game and 20th in high-danger chances per 60 minutes.
I’m not sure which Leafs team will show up tonight.
Leafs vs. Avs Pick
While both of these teams can be counted among the best in the league and boast high-flying offenses, I think there’s value on the Avalanche at +115.
Toronto has been terrific to start this season, but the Avalanche were the Stanley Cup Favorites coming into the campaign, so I think it’s reasonable to suggest they are the better team in this matchup, and thus I like the return on Colorado even if it’s a road game for the Avs.
Pick: Colorado Avalanche +115