A trendy pick to contend for the Stanley Cup when the season started nearly a year ago, the Colorado Avalanche now get the chance to show what they’re all about when they take on the No. 11 Arizona Coyotes in the first round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Colorado earned the second seed in the Western Conference by going 2-0-1 in round-robin play. Meanwhile, the Yotes upset Nashville in the qualifiers, a popular theme in that round. Colorado opened as a big favorite after producing 18 more points than Arizona during the regular season.
We'll have NHL Odds at BookMaker.eu available for every game of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Colorado Avalanche vs. Arizona Coyotes Series Schedule
Game 1: Coyotes vs. Avalanche, Wednesday, August 12, 2020, 5:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
Game 2: Coyotes vs. Avalanche, Friday, August 14, 2020, 2 p.m. ET (NHLN)
Game 3: Avalanche vs. Coyotes, Saturday, August 15, 2020, 3 p.m. ET (CNBC)
Game 4: Avalanche vs. Coyotes, Monday, August 17, 2020, 5:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
Game 5: Coyotes vs. Avalanche, Wednesday, August 19, 2020 (If Necessary)
Game 5: Avalanche vs. Coyotes, Friday, August 21, 2020 (If Necessary)
Game 5: Coyotes vs. Avalanche, Sunday, August 23, 2020 (If Necessary)
Series Price at BookMaker.eu
Colorado Avalanche -286
Arizona Coyotes +243
It’s easy to peg the Avalanche as a prohibitive favorite given their better numbers during the regular season. Colorado has a fine collection of young players finishing fourth during the regular season in goals per game. They had to endure injuries to key players prior to the shutdown and still averaged 3.37 goals.
A big reason why you should consider backing the Avalanche is their overall depth. Led by MVP candidate Nathan MacKinnon, who potted 35 goals and 93 points in 69 games, they are explosive on offense. Gabriel Landeskog played only 54 regular season games compiling 21 goals and 23 assists. Three other players scored at least 19 goals and five others reached double figures.
While the offense was clicking Colorado is a strong defensive club too. Allowing 2.71 goals per game the Avalanche ranked 6th during the regular season and they were stingy in the round-robin surrendering only five goals. The goalie tandem of Phillipp Grubauer and Pavel Francouz split time during the season with each starting at least 30 games. Grubauer has more playoff experience and likely gets the nod. But if he struggles you can bet Francouz will see the ice after blanking Dallas, 4-0, in his only round-robin start.
The Coyotes are playing playoff hockey for the first time since 2012, but don’t expect them to be overwhelmed by the situation. They upset Nashville in the first round behind splendid goaltending from Darcy Kuemper and timely offensive production. The blueprint to that qualifying round win likely won’t get it done in a seven-game series against a deeper squad, but don’t count the Yotes out. They were outshot 163-125 by the Preds but outscored them 14-11.
We saw a few upsets in the qualifying round with Arizona included in that group. Entering as the No. 11 seed, the Coyotes wouldn’t have been among the top eight when play stopped. Given a second chance they took advantage. Not without prolific offensive players, the Coyotes showed Nashville just how dangerous they are.
The club made a major move at the trade deadline acquiring former Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall. He produced 10 goals and 17 assists in 35 regular season games. Even with that infusion of talent the Yotes averaged 2.71 goals. With Hall, Clayton Keller, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Phil Kessel scoring a point a game, the average jumped to 3.5 in the four-game series win over Nashville.
Kuemper was spectacular against the Preds stopping 93.3 percent of the shots he faced while posting a 2.71 GAA. His play wasn’t a fluke either. In 29 regular season starts he had a .928 save percentage and 2.22 GAA. One of his two shutouts came in a 3-0 win against the Avalanche back in November.
Player to Watch
Kuemper would be the likely pick in this section since he’s the key to any success the Coyotes will have. But I’m going to keep an eye on MacKinnon, who’s the most dynamic player on the ice in this series. With a number of talented offensive players on his side, MacKinnon doesn’t have to carry the load. However, when he’s on his game he makes everyone around him better. The league’s fifth-leading scorer tallied a team-best 12 power play goals and 31 points. And the power play will be tested against the fifth-ranked penalty killing unit.
Avalanche vs. Coyotes Free Picks
Colorado is the deeper and more talented team, which is why they are big favorites. The likelihood of an upset also decreases in a seven-game series. We can talk about Colorado’s scoring depth, but they are sound defensively with a stellar duo of goalies and Rookie of the Year candidate Cale Makar. The Coyotes will extend the series, but Colorado’s depth wins out.
Avalanche vs. Coyotes Series Pick: Avalanche in 6 Games
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