The Colorado Avalanche, atop the Western Conference’s Central Division and with multiple games in hand over both St. Louis and Nashville, look to continue their recent torrid stretch of play. They’re off to Disneyland for a Wednesday night engagement against the scuffling Anaheim Ducks.
Colorado has been nearly perfect in 2022, winning eight of nine games, the only loss an overtime defeat against the Predators. The Avalanche’s win Monday over the Minnesota Wild was a doozy of a game as Colorado withstood a mid-game injury to starting goalie Darcy Kuemper. He was hurt when Wild forward Jordan Greenway collided with him, prompting a fight. The Avalanche then blew a third period lead, only to prevail in a shootout. Pavel Francouz did a fine job in relief of Kuemper, saving 25 of the 27 shots he faced.
The Ducks have had a much-needed break since a pair of road losses to the Wild and the Chicago Blackhawks. Anthony Stolarz was roughed up in Friday’s 7-3 defeat in Minnesota, then Anaheim’s offense went dark in Saturday’s 3-0 shutout loss at Chicago. Anaheim did have 37 shots on goal Saturday-Hawks’ goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was spectacular-but the Ducks didn’t have nearly the amount of high-danger scoring chances.
- Game: Colorado Avalanche at Anaheim Ducks
- Location: Honda Center, Anaheim, CA
- Day/Time: Wednesday, Jan. 19th, 10:00 p.m. ET
- Television: TNT
Colorado Avalanche at Anaheim Ducks
Avalanche Will Make Things Tough For Stolarz
There’s no more locked-in offense around the NHL right now than the Colorado Avalanche. They lead the league in goals per game and shot percentage, and are a top-10 team in both shots on goal and power-play percentage. Colorado also gets scoring from a wide variety of sources, so it’s a well-balanced attack. Six different Avalanche players have 31-plus points and a remarkable seven different players have a plus/minus rating of +12 or better.
So, a lot of different Avalanche players-forwards and defensemen-can hurt the opposition. It’s a tough assignment for the Ducks at full strength, but they don’t have starting goalie John Gibson (COVID protocols) back and are instead probably turning to backup Stolarz. He’s been good overall this season but has struggled lately, perhaps related to his increased playing time as the team has been without Gibson.
There’s never a good time to have your top goalie out of the lineup. It’s worse having him sidelined when the ‘Lanche come to town.
Ducks Are Crashing Back To Earth
Anaheim has some of the most exciting young talent in the NHL, getting off to a surprisingly great start with a 17-9-6 record heading into the holiday break. However, things haven’t gone nearly as smoothly since the hiatus, as the Ducks have won just twice in the past month. Anaheim lost seven of its last nine games.
It never seemed likely for the Ducks to keep up their early-season level play, and the bill is finally coming due. Anaheim losing Gibson to COVID hasn’t helped things, but the absence of offense of late that’s really doomed it. The Ducks have just 17 goals in their nine games and are having major issues finding scoring from players other than Trevor Zegras and Troy Terry.
The Ducks need some of their depth guys to contribute and help shoulder the scoring burden or they won’t be able to stem the tide, stabilize things or remain in playoff contention. Colorado surrenders 3.19 goals per game and might be without Kuemper, so Anaheim has to make something happen on that end of the ice, maybe with special teams.
Take Avalanche To Win Big
If you’re betting online, you should back Colorado on the puck line. The Ducks are banged-up as is and their last six losses have been by two or more goals. To be fair, the Avalanche have played a lot of one-goal games lately and their puck line record isn’t great this season, but they’ve covered that prop in three of their last eight wins, including a Jan. 2nd, 4-2 victory over the Ducks.
There isn’t sufficient value on the Avalanche money line here. You could consider taking Colorado to win in regulation on the three-way money line, which provides better odds than the puck line, but the wager would lose if the game went to overtime.