#53 Colorado Avalanchevs.#54 Pittsburgh Penguins
Written by David Hess
When: 7:00 PM ET, Monday, October 17, 2016
Where: PPG PAINTS Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Lines: Pittsburgh -155/ Colorado +140
Tonight on the ice an inter-conference battle will take place in the Keystone State as the Colorado Avalanche tangle with the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG PAINTS Arena. Colorado is off a hard fought 6-5 win over Dallas, while the Penguins have begun their quest for BB titles with home wins over Washington and Anaheim. The Pens have won five of their last six home games in the series.
The Colorado Avalanche got off to a good start as they took down a Dallas team that had the best record in the Western Conference last year by a score of 6-5. This was a good start for a team that had their issues scoring last year. Leading the charge for the Avalanche was Joe Colborne, who scored three goals in the game, including two on the power play. Also scoring for the Ave were Carl Soderberg, Nathan MacKinnon, and Tyson Barrie. Colorado really did outplay the Stars are they outshot them 33-28 and won the faceoff battle as well by a 40-25 count. Extra possessions always mean more chances to score and that was the case for the Avs in this game.
Now to the bad of the game. Semyon Varlamov did grab the win in the game, but he also allowed five goals on 28 shot attempts by Dallas. Last year Varlamov went 27-25-3 with a 2.81 GAA, including 13-10 with a 2.53 GAA on the road, while vs Pittsburgh in his career he is 3-1-1 with a 2.56 GAA. Last year the Avalanche ranked 21st in the league in scoring at 2.59 gpg, while also ranking 25th in shots taken (28.6 spg) and 19th in power play conversions, converting on 18.0% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice they were poor as they ranked 25th in goals allowed, giving up 2.93 gpg, while also ranking 28th in shots allowed (32.3) and 23rd in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 19.8% of their chances.
The Pittsburgh Penguins won it all last year and have begun defense of their title by starting out the year 2-0 with wins over Washington and Anaheim. Far better than the 0-3 start they had last year. The offense hasn’t really been there yet as they scored just two goals in regulation in the opener and three in the win over Anaheim. The Pens got off 45 shots in that game vs the Ducks, so they could have easily scored more than the three goals that they did. Scoring for Pittsburgh was Ian Cole, Conor Sheary and Phil Kessel. The Pens did lose the faceoff battle by a count of 39-28 or they may have had even more shot attempts in the game.
The Pens did allow 36 shots in the game, but Marc-Andre Fleury was more than up to the task as he stopped 34 of those shots for his 2nd win of the year. Last year he was 35-17-6 with a 2.29 GAA, including 21-8-2 with a 2.29 GAA here at home, while vs the Avs in his career he is 9-3 with a 2.18 GAA. Last year the Penguins ranked 3rd in the league in scoring at 2.94 gpg, while also ranking 1st in shots taken (33.2 spg) and 16th in power play conversions, converting on 18.4% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice they were very strong as they ranked 6th in goals allowed, giving up 2.43 gpg, while also ranking 16th in shots allowed (29.7) and 5th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 15.6% of their chances.
Going with Pittsburgh in this gam. The Avs had a good offensive game in their opener, but they was vs the bad goaltending of the Stars. They will not face bad goaltending in this one, but they will put out bad goaltending of their own. Pittsburgh is off to a fast start and they have gone 37-8 in their last 45 home games, plus 8-2 their last 10 games in this series. Look for this one to go the way of the Pens.
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I have always had a fascination with numbers and sports, so I combined the two to become a handicapper and a blogger. I love sports and I love writing about them and all the info I put in my blogs is well-thought-out and well-researched. I am a big fan of all the major sports and the colleges, plus I know golf pretty well, tennis and the WNBA. I am very versatile. Hope you enjoy my content.