The Colorado Avalanche (26-8-4) return to Xcel Energy Center to continue their dominance of the Minnesota Wild (23-12-2). The pair met on Monday where the Avalanche got away with a 5-4 victory although the result was never in doubt.
The NHL lines have Colorado as another significant favorite at -190. Despite Minnesota’s comeback, the Avalanche thoroughly dominated. It got to a point the Wild got upset and resulted in dropping the gloves over trying to outplay them. It should be the same and yes, I also mean the fisticuffs.
Avalanche: Making Teams “Rage Quit”
If you’re not familiar with the Internet lingo, “rage quit” refers to the act of prematurely quitting a game out of anger due to getting beat so badly. That’s pretty much what Colorado did to Minnesota the other night.
That’s how good Colorado is. This team leads the NHL in corsi for percent (CF%) and you can count on one hand how many times they’ve been outplayed 5-on-5 with a healthy roster.
The Avalanche are emerging as the Stanley Cup frontrunner. They’ve separated themselves from Vegas and the rest of the division. Since March 10, the Avalanche are 13-0-2 and have outscored opponents 67 to 29 with a 61.9 CF% and a 104.1 PDO. That’s like playing NHL 21 on rookie difficulty.
Colorado “struggled” earlier due to injuries. But even when they struggled to score, their defense and goaltending led them to the second-best record in the division. With a healthy roster and a reinvigorated offense, there is no stopping this team.
Wild: Looking For Answers
Minnesota has been the NHL’s most surprising team and they could be the division’s second-best team. But that would make them a distant second to Colorado, which they can’t seem to beat.
The Wild were getting embarrassed in their own hockey rink. And then they had enough and started attacking the Avalanche. Literally. Minnesota got rough with Colorado and it almost worked as they managed to score on two power plays later in the third to come within one goal.
When the dust cleared, the Wild still lost the game. But they didn’t get blown out like the previous two games. Minnesota has been a dynamic offensive force. They don’t need to touch the puck too often or too long to generate scoring chances.
But that hasn’t worked against the Avalanche, for the most part. At the end of the night, you still need to get to the puck to score. Minnesota will have to figure out how to compete with Colorado with both teams at even strength or they’ll be playing catch-up yet again.
If you’re Minnesota, you have to take some solace in almost tying the game when it appeared headed for another blowout. Sure, it needed some rough play but that’s hockey. But the power-play goals they scored, in the end, are the first time they’ve scored twice on the PP in a game all season.
The Wild had the NHL’s worst PP before that. Now at just 12%, they’re 30th and way behind the Avalanche’s division-leading 23.6%. Minnesota will have to keep capitalizing on their extra-man advantages as they find themselves consistently beat on 5-on-5.
Even when Minnesota blew out Colorado 6-2, they were still behind in corsi metrics. They’ll have to look back to their January 31 game when they went toe-to-toe with Colorado and won in overtime (albeit over third-stringer Hunter Miska).
But that was also a different Avalanche team, which was beginning to turn down offensively. At their current form, it’s folly to bet online against them. Goaltender Philip Grubaeur will also be better as Colorado wins this one again.
Pick: Colorado Avalanche ML -190