Six teams are clustered at the top of the West Division standings, but there’s a good chance for both the Colorado Avalanche and Arizona Coyotes to gain ground Friday night in Glendale. Colorado lost 6-2 against the Minnesota Wild Wednesday night, their second consecutive loss. Meanwhile, the Coyotes trailed the Anaheim Ducks 3-0 in back-to-back games Monday and Wednesday but won 4-3 both nights.
Gloves, sticks, and pucks drop at 8:00 P.M. Eastern. The Avalanche are heavily favored at (-182) while the home underdog Coyotes are (+155).
Colorado Avalanche Betting Preview
The Avalanche were tabbed as a favorite to advance to the Stanley Cup Final (and win) for most of the offseason. However, early in the season, they’ve struggled to put together a consistent performance from game to game.
Surprisingly, it is the offense who mostly to blame. Colorado scores 2.88 goals per game (ranking 19th) while allowing 2.38 (ranking fourth). They’re tied for the fifth-most shots per game (31.8), so the big issue is that shots aren’t falling.
While Nathan MacKinnon has still been a points machine with 14 assists this season, he’s only scored four goals. After scoring 35 goals last season, his pace has definitely cooled a bit. Once he gets going, though, the rest of the division will need to be on notice.
Philipp Grubauer has been one of the league’s best goalies early on. He’s posted a 9-5-0 record with a 2.01 GAA, and a .923 save percentage, and two shutouts. He’s expected to start Friday.
Brandon Saad missed Wednesday’s game against Minnesota while expecting the birth of his child. It is unclear if he’ll be in the lineup Friday night, but I would expect him to miss the game. Other than Saad, Dennis Gilbert and Erik Johnson are both on the injury report, as is backup netminder Pavel Francouz.
Arizona Coyotes Betting Preview
Arizona really had no business winning either of their past two games after falling behind 3-0, but they found a way to win. Both victories moved the Coyotes up to a tie for third in the standings.
The Coyotes score the ninth-fewest goals per game (2.63) but rank in the middle of the pack in goals allowed per game (2.79). Arizona’s third-fewest shots per game (27.1) and pedestrian power play numbers (20.3%) aren’t striking fear into anyone.
Keep an eye on Christian Dvorak and Conor Garland in this one. Dvorak scored a shorthanded penalty shot goal and a power-play goal Monday and scored the shootout winner Wednesday. Garland has three assists in the past two games and also scored in the shootout.
Darcy Kuemper should get the nod between the pipes. Kuemper has a 6-7-2 record, a 2.41 GAA, a .913 save percentage, and a shutout this season.
Backup netminder Antti Raanta is day-to-day with an upper-body injury and is the only player on the injury report.
Free Betting Pick
Colorado should win this game in a convincing fashion. They need to make a statement to keep pace in a surprisingly competitive division and should be plenty motivated after Wednesday’s ugly loss against Minnesota.
Betting the Avalanche on the moneyline at (-182) isn’t great value, but taking them on the puck line is (+140), making that a much better play. If you’re up for a player prop, consider taking Nathan MacKinnon to score a goal as well.
Spooky Express Free Pick: Colorado Avalanche (-1.5) Puck Line at (+140)