Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#5 Colorado Avalanche 6 vs.
#6 Boston Bruins -140
Saturday, December 7, 2019 at 7:05pm EST
TD Garden, Boston
Written by Nick Raffoul

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The Colorado Avalanche will close out their three-game Eastern Conference road trip on Saturday evening when they head on the road to TD Gardens for a matchup with the NHL-leading Boston Bruins.

The Avalanche come into this matchup in second place in the Central Division standings with 38 points in 28 games after winning five straight contests. Meanwhile, Boston has posted an NHL-high 46 points in 29 games and a league-best plus-40 goal differential, which is 15 goals better than the next-best team. Can the Bruins sustain their success against the red-hot Avalanche on Saturday night?

Avalanche due for some regression

Matt Calvert scored a shorthanded goal and finished with two points to help Colorado win its fifth straight game over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night. Gabriel Landeskog made his presence felt in his return from a lower-body injury, scoring a goal in the first period to help the Avalanche build on their lead, and backup goaltender Pavel Francouz stopped 38 shots to help Colorado escape with a 3-2 win.

The Avalanche haven’t always played well this season but they’ve been lucky enough to find the back of the night thanks to a shooting percentage that ranks atop the NHL leaderboard. Following their road win in Montreal on Thursday, the Avs sport an NHL-best shooting percentage 10.22 percent, which is nearly a half-percentage point higher than the second-place Bruins. That mark would also be the highest shooting percentage since the NHL lockout, which means Colorado could be due for some regression as the season rolls along.

Philipp Grubauer is expected to be back between the pipes for the Avalanche on Saturday as Colorado tries to push its current winning streak to six games. The 28-year-old is 10-5-2 with a 2.75 GAA and .916 save percentage in 17 starts and he’s been particularly good as of late, allowing three goals or less in five of his last six starts. In his only start of the season against the Bruins, Grubauer gave up just two goals on 41 shots to earn the win.

Bruins' winning streak ends at eight games

Just when it looked like Boston was having an off-night, the Bruins scored three third-period goals to salvage a point in a 4-3 overtime loss against the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night. Joakim Nordstrom, Chris Wagner, and Torey Krug all scored for the Bruins while Tuukka Rask made 27 saves as Boston snapped its eight-game winning streak.

The Bruins’ high-powered offense has given the team a chance to win on a nightly basis and no deficit no been out of reach for Boston so far this season. The Bruins have lost just three games in regulation and they sport the league’s best points percentage (.793) through their first 29 games. Boston ranks fourth in the NHL at 3.59 goals per game and they have converted on a healthy 29.4 percent of their opportunities with the man advantage, which ranks second in the NHL. They also lead the league with a 2.24 goals-against average and rank second with a .929 team save percentage so far this year.

Jaroslav Halak is scheduled to guard the cage for the Bruins in Saturday night’s contest against the Avalanche. Halak has posted a 7-1-3 overall record to go along with a 2.14 GAA and a .934 save percentage in 11 starts this season. The 34-year-old is fresh off of his second shutout of the season after stopping all 24 shots that he faced against the Carolina Hurricanes. In his lone start of the year versus Colorado, Halak allowed three goals in 35 shots in a 4-2 loss on Oct. 10.

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Colorado has won five in a row but this looks like a good spot for their winning streak to come to an end. Halak has been tough to beat, especially at home where he has posted a 1.95 GAA and .940 save percentage in six starts this season. Boston ranks first in the league in goals-against and goal differential by a wide margin. The offense flashed its explosiveness against Blackhawks, erasing a three-goal third-period deficit. Take the Bruins to come out on top at home in this matchup in Boston on Saturday night.

Prediction: Boston Bruins

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Both of these goaltenders come into this game with some well-earned confidence. Halak has been terrific in between the pipes for the Bruins all season long and he’s fresh off a shutout in his last start against the Carolina Hurricanes. Meanwhile, Grubauer has won three straight starts and allowed three goals or less in five of his last six games. Look for this game to stay under the projected total at TD Gardens in Boston on Saturday night.

Prediction: Under
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Written By Nick Raffoul

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. And has now joined our team here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.