NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Panthers vs. Avalanche (Dec. 12)
Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Colorado Avalanche standout Cale Makar.
Panthers vs. Avalanche Odds
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Florida Panthers will finish off a three-game road trip on Sunday when they travel to Colorado to take on a surging Avalanche squad.
Florida enters the matchup with a stellar record of 18-4-4, good enough for first place in the Atlantic Division. The Panthers also lead the NHL in points with 40, which further displays their dominance.
Colorado has been playing great hockey recently as well, and as a result, they enter Sunday night with a record of 15-7-2 and have won three straight games.
This is a classic matchup of two offensive power houses, both of which have produced high totals since the calendar turned to December. Will that remain the case on Sunday, or will we see the Panthers and Avalanche hold each other in check?
The Panthers have been one of the most sound groups in the NHL this year, and when you dive into the stats it is easy to see why.
First, this team can score the puck at will. In 5-on-5 this year, Florida finds themselves among the top three in total goals scored (66), Expected Goals For per 60 minutes (2.91), and High-Danger Chances For per 60 minutes (12.95). They are generating high quality scoring opportunities on a consistent basis, and it has paid dividends up to this point in the season.
Furthermore, this is one of the best units in the league on the defensive end of the ice in 5-on-5 as well. The Panthers are just outside the top 10 in Expected Goals Against per 60 minutes with 2.24, and they have allowed the seventh-fewest goals with just 43.
This level of dominance on both ends of the ice is hard to come by, but Florida has been making it look easy this year.
Another huge reason for their success is because they have a stud in net, and his name is Sergei Bobrovsky. In 5-on-5 situations, Bobrovsky has an SV % of .933 and 7.4 Goals Saved Above Expected, two marks that rank him among the league’s best.
The Avalanche have been playing unbelievable hockey recently, and as a result, they are one of the hottest teams in the NHL coming into this game.
As previously mentioned, Colorado has won three straight games, defeating the Flyers, Rangers, and Red Wings in the last week. They are also 7-2-1 in their last 10 games, so this recent run of success does not appear to be a fluke.
What is even more impressive is how they are getting those wins: by scoring goals at an incredible clip. In their last 10 games, Colorado has scored an average of 5.2 goals per game, and during their three game win streak, they have not scored fewer than seven goals in any game.
The Avs are now leading the league in Goals For per 60 minutes in 5-on-5 situations with 3.40 and also find themselves in the top five in total goals scored in 5-on-5 with 63. They got off to a bit of a slow start on the offensive end this season, but now there is no doubt that they are a major force on that end of the ice.
However, Colorado’s defense hasn’t been nearly as impressive as their offense has been recently. They do rank among the top 10 in Expected Goals Against per 60 minutes (xGA/60) this season which is good to see, but in their last 10 games, they are surrendering an average of 3.8 goals per game to their opponents. In 5-on-5 situations, the Avalanche have surrendered 54 total goals, 12th-most in the NHL.
Darcy Keumper is expected to get the start in net in this one, and even though he is winning games, his numbers have not been great. In 5-on-5, Keumper has an SV % of .910 and -6.0 Goals Saved Above Expected, the fourth-worst mark in the NHL.
Panthers vs. Avalanche Pick
This is likely going to be a game that is highlighted by a high number of goals, further continuing the trend for both teams over the last week.
Florida has seen a total of at least seven goals in six of their last nine games, and Colorado has seen a total of at least seven in seven of their last nine. But more surprisingly, the Av’s have had a total of at least 10 goals in five of their last six.
The Panthers are likely going to get their fair share of goals in this one, and even though they have been a solid defensive team, it will be a tall task to stop this red hot Avalanche team. 6.5 is a high number, but it is certainly capable of being reached in this game.
Pick: Total over 6.5 (-110)