NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Stars vs. Avalanche (February 15)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Stars vs. Avalanche (February 15) article feature image

Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Darcy Kuemper (Colorado)

Stars vs. Avalanche Odds

Stars Odds+190
Avalanche Odds-240
Time9 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

Dallas will head to Colorado looking to fare better in the second leg of its home-and-home set with Avalanche.

The Stars lost 4-0 Sunday afternoon in a contest that saw the Avalanche's point streak extend to a ridiculous 20 games.

Can Dallas manage to put together a better offensive night against the Avs this time around?

Avs Continue to Dominate on Offense

Between the Florida Panthers and the Avs, it's pretty much a two-horse battle over who holds the league's top offensive attack. Both teams sit way ahead of the pack, averaging over four goals per game.

As expected, the Avalanche have been ridiculously good this year, and enter this one having claimed a point in every contest in 2022 thus far. The team is currently in the midst of a 9-0-1 run, with a 56.24 expected goals rate and a 3.47 xGF/60 mark.

Nathan MacKinnon returned to the lineup on Sunday with an assist.

With Nazem Kadri continuing to play like a full blown superstar, Andre Burakovsky continuing to take steps forward and strong campaigns from depth forwards — such as Alex Newhook and J.T. Compher — it's easy to see why this roster is producing at such a gaudy rate.

MacKinnon playing in just 32 contests so far makes this even more impressive.

The Avs love playing a notably up-tempo style, and are far from a defense-first club. Their trio of top defenders — Cale Makar, Devon Toews and Samuel Girard — are all terrific in the offensive zone and are excellent at driving the play up the ice.

It's a firm possibility that Pavel Francouz draws the start here, as he hasn't played since Jan. 28. Also, Colorado is playing rival Vegas on Wednesday in a massive nationally broadcasted spot.

Francouz holds a +2.0 goals saved above expected rating so far this season, with a .927 save %. However, he has been fed lots of soft matchups, and my belief is he's still likely to be closer to league average in the big picture.

Stars Still Trying to Round Defense into Form

Dallas hit a wall offensively on Sunday against Colorado, but it had produced 4.25 goals for per game in its four previous contests. Those games featured duels with some excellent defensive clubs in Boston, Calgary and Nashville.

The Stars' inconsistent results have continued to be hard to read, but a 7-3-0 run over their last 10 certainly has helped them gain ground in what is becoming a close — but soft — race for the last couple of spots in the West.

Depth scoring projects as the Stars' weakness this season, but a 12th-best xGF/60 rating over their last 10 contests certainly shows they are coming around in that category. They have averaged a good total of 3.50 goals per game over that span.

The Stars have been less sound defensively this season than we have come to expect over coach Rick Bowness' tenure, allowing 2.90 goals against per game over their last 10 games. They also have the league's 13th-most goals against altogether this season at 3.04.

That mark has been insulated to an extent, with a notably strong powerplay unit at 24.6%. That unit will need to be sharp in this game if the Stars want to hang around with the potent Avalanche.

The top unit would certainly benefit from the return of John Klingberg, who is considered day-to-day and is listed as questionable for this contest.

It's unclear whether the Stars will look towards Braden Holtby or Jake Oettinger here in goal, but I think that it's probably more likely we see Oettinger. The two have been in a closely-contested battle for minutes as of late, with Holtby playing on Sunday.

Oettinger has played to a -0.8 goals saved above expected rating, with a .910 save % this season throughout 20 games played.

Stars vs. Avalanche  Pick

It's hard for me to see Dallas being able to shutdown Colorado's ridiculously strong offensive attack, but I think it's very feasible we see the Stars contribute a solid number toward the total.

In turn, I see value in backing this one to get over six goals.

Colorado's home games have averaged well past that mark this season, and although we have seen somewhat of a temporary lull, I still feel most games in Denver should be opening at 6.5.

We could gain a little value should Colorado choose to play Francouz in goal, and should it not, we will still not likely lose any value grabbing the early line.

Pick: Over 6 (-120) | Play 6 to -145

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