Division leaders in the Western Conference square off on TNT Wednesday night when the Colorado Avalanche visit the Vegas Golden Knights in a key NHL matchup. Colorado has pulled away in the Central Division with an incredible run that’s seen them go 17-0-2 since the start of the new year. They enter the week with a 9-point lead over Minnesota and their 72 points are the most of any team. Vegas enters the week with a slim lead in the Pacific and is coming off its worst loss of the season, 6-0 at Calgary. The Golden Knights have a few days to ponder that outing while the Avalanche finish off a back-to-back after hosting Dallas on Tuesday night.
The matchup between the Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights takes place at 10 p.m. ET on Wednesday, February 16, 2022, from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV and will air live on TNT. BookMaker.eu will have odds for every game on the Wednesday NHL schedule.
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Schedule makers didn’t do the Avalanche any favors with a make-up game against Dallas slotted for Tuesday giving Colorado a back-to-back that includes travel. At least they won’t have much time to enjoy the night life in Sin City, which could be a good thing. But playing a physical team in Dallas could take a toll. Not that Colorado has had much to complain about lately. The Avalanche stretched their franchise record points streak to 19 games with a shutout of Dallas on Sunday giving them NHL-bests of 34 wins and 72 points. They haven’t lost a game in regulation since Dec. 16. Going back to last season’s playoffs they have had problems against Vegas, though. Colorado dropped four straight in their postseason series and stretched the losing streak to five with a 3-1 home setback in October.
No expansion team has enjoyed as much success as the Golden Knights. They made a remarkable run to the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season and have been strong every year since. Once again they lead their division, but they appear more vulnerable this season. They are coming off a 6-0 loss to Calgary, their worst of the season, and they are 6-4-4 over their previous 14 games. And for a team that’s been good on home ice since its inception, Vegas has struggled by their standards going 14-10-2 at T-Mobile Arena putting them $359 in the hole on the moneyline.
Easily the best team in the league, the Avalanche are on an incredible run collecting 17 wins and at least one point in 19 consecutive games. Their last setback was against Arizona in a shootout at the beginning of the month, which was a bit surprising since the Coyotes are one of the worst teams. But it shows you that anything can happen. I guess that’s what makes their streak even more impressive. And Colorado got a huge piece back in the lineup on Sunday with Nathan MacKinnon getting an assist in his first game since Jan. 26. The ‘Lanche went 3-0-1 in his absence averaging 3.8 goals.
That number was a tad lower than their season average of 4.1 goals, which ranks second in the NHL. Colorado boasts three 20-goal scorers with Miko Rantanen leading the way with 24. They also have a Norris Trophy candidate in Cale Makar, who has 46 points and is plus-31 while averaging over 25 minutes of ice time.
Vegas Golden Knights
Vegas wasn’t too happy about its last game and there will be some issues worked out on Wednesday. One thing about the Golden Knights, though, is we’ve seen them struggle against the better teams. Besides losing 6-0 to Calgary, they also lost to Florida and Carolina in OT on a recent road trip. And before that they fell to Pittsburgh and Toronto, so they can be had and the better teams are taking care of business. The Knights are a bit different than we’ve seen in previous seasons. Opting to let Marc-Andre Fleury go elevated Robin Lehner to No. 1 in net. His numbers are good but not spectacular with a 2.86 GAA and .907 save percentage.
With a week off between games the hope is that Mark Stone is available on Wednesday. Stone missed the last game, a 6-0 loss to Calgary, with an upper body injury and Vegas was shutout for the third time this season and first since early November. Stone has played in just 28 games averaging a point a game with 8 goals and 20 assists. Despite missing nearly half of Vegas’ games he’s fifth in scoring.
NHL Odds Pick
Colorado is on an absolute roll and the law of averages says they will lose at some point sooner rather than later. And having a game the night before while Vegas has rested for a week should be a concern. The Knights play a rugged game and they were able to slow down the high-flying Avalanche in the postseason. Using that method will help them to a victory on Wednesday.
NHL Odds Prediction: Vegas 5, Colorado 3
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